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Brass figure of two men



Object number


Physical Description

African brass figure kneeling and balancing a smaller figure




height: 24cm

Exhibition Label

Brass Gold Weights

These weights were essential tools for trade in West Africa until the late 1800s and are cast with great skill. They are often symbolic, depicting local proverbs or folktales. Made from imported European brass, these weights represented units to measure gold-dust, the currency of the region until the late 1800s.

Traders carried many weights and most families would also have a collection that could be passed down as heirlooms. The brass made gold weight would sit on one side of a pair of scales and gold-dust would be scooped onto the other with a brass spoon.

Historically, the Akan region, a part of West Africa which now lies across Ghana and the Ivory Coast, contained substantial gold deposits which led to the region being known as the ‘Gold Coast’ by European traders.

Being African in Hackney: 1960s-2020s
14 September 2021 to 14 February 2022

On display?