Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Akan Gold Dust Box Côte d'Ivoire

AvailabilityIn stock
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More Information
Brand Unbranded
Type of Object Metal
Country of Origin Côte d'Ivoire
People Akan
Materials Brass, Bronze or copper alloys
Approximate Age Probably 2nd half 20th Century
Height (in) 1
Width (in) .75
Depth (in) 2.5
Dimensions 2.25 inches L. x 1.75 inch .
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Lid doesn't fit

A small lidded box made of brass or other alloys. This miniature box reflects artistry in service to commerce that occurred centuries ago where gold was in the center of an international trade between West African Coast and the rest of the world. Boxes such as this as well as weights are not gold but were used in the trade of gold. Until the end of the nineteenth century, gold (sika) was the currency of the Asante, Fante, Baule and other Akan peoples of Ghana. Used in trade with European merchants along the Ivory-Coast, or Islamic traders from the north, gold dust was measured on small scales called "nsania" using small copper, bronze or brass sculpted weights known as abrammo. Most people engaging in trade owned a set of weights ranging from small geometrically patterned weights to complex figural and representational weights.

Cast using the lost-wax technique, these small cast objects served to facilitate trade, while simultaneously depicting Akan values and proverbs. Boxes like this were very important for sellers and buyers. They served to store and keep gold dust save.