African Goldweights: Miniature Sculptures from Ghana 1400-1900
Over 600 years ago the Akan started to make brass weights for weighing gold dust, the currency of their region in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Eventually they produced the most complete three dimensional inventory of any culture in history.Virtually every animal, bird, fish or object known to them became the subject of a miniature sculpture. Human figures are represented in the activities of everyday life and sacred or courtly rituals, together with pioneer casts from nature and a wealth of abstract and ornamental designs. The artist Tom Phillips has, in the last thirty years, built up the worlds most comprehensive collection of these lively and imaginative artefacts and here presents a selection of more than 500 chosen for their artistry and interest, accompanied by a full descriptive text about their history, styles and modes of manufacture.
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19th century abstract weights actual aesthetic African Akan Akan goldsmith Akan weights amulet animal antelope appear Appiah arms artist Asante Asantehene Ashanti beetle bellows brass cast from nature catfish centimetres chair Charles Ratton chicken chief's weight chiefs collection collector copper inserts copper plugs crocodile cubistic culture dealers decorative device dimensional direct castings early elements elephant emblematic enstooled European example feature fetish figurative weights fish futuo Garrard Gold dust boxes goldsmith goldweights Grammar of Ornament hand hollow cast horn hornbill human figures identifiable illustrated Islamic Ivory Coast keys knots kuduo Kumasi Kumasi style leopard look maker metal miniature motif mould objects ornament oware palm wine pereguan proverb pyramid Rattray recognisable reef knot representation ritual Sankofa bird scales sculpture seems seen shape shield snake spiral sprue stool stylistic swastika sword symbolic trade triangle trophy head variations vocabulary warrior wax model