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Lot 1890: Akan Frog Trade Weight

Antiquities: Day 4

by TimeLine Auctions

December 9, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 15th-19th century AD. A substantial trade weight in silver-coloured metal or silver-plate (95% silver by XRF surface analysis) depicting an amphibian in sitting posture with forelimbs held tight to the chest, rump positioned on a block. 1.5 kg, 10cm (4"). Property of a West London gentleman; acquired before 2000. Akan weights comprise a diverse range of forms, most notably animals, and served for weighing gold dust. They were used by the Akan and Akan-related peoples of southern Ghana and the neighbouring regions of the Ivory Coast. From around the fourteenth century gold was mined in the Akan forest and a standardised system of weighing was introduced, most likely influenced by the Sahelian trading partners. The weights take on a variety of forms, many influenced by nature, but some also of geometric type. There was a complex array of other apparatus including scales, spoons, shovels, sieves, gold-dust boxes, brushes, touchstones and small cloth packets that resulted in Akan gold weighing becoming a complicated and time consuming art. [No Reserve]

Condition Report: Fine condition.

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