African Ashanti bronze Bracelet of 4 United Birds Gold weight
Origin: Ashanti ethnic group - GHANA
Age: Late 20th century
Condition details: Good
Dimensions: (3") high - (3") wide the inside is 2" 3/4 W
This is an Ashanti gold weight, used in the measuring of gold and gold dust, which was mined and panned in great quantities along the West Coast of Africa, hence the name Gold Coast. Gold was used in the Ashanti kingdom, now known as Ghana, in trading with outsiders, making personal adornments, and as an internal currency.
Ashanti weights such as these have a variety of accoutrements such as bracelets, spoons and balances used to hold or measure out gold dust. A full kit would include boxes, spoons, balance and around forty weights; this was known as a futoo and carried wrapped together in cloth. The futoo would then be put into a leather container or wooden box, or if the owner was a wealthy man, a cast-brass kuduo box. These boxes, full of gold dust, could be buried with their owners and dug up again if needed, or hidden in times of trouble.
The weight itself is made of bronze or brass, . Weights were cast using the lost-wax method which is still the best way of preserving fine modeling and detail.