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ID number:  BIRRC-D0227
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Goldweight
Object type:  Metalwork
Place made:  Africa: Ghana
Culture:  Asante
Materials:  Cast brass
Measurements:  4 cm

This object is an Ashanti goldweight, or 'sika abrammoo'. This spherical goldweight represents a crocodile with two heads and one body, the tails forming sort of handles on either side. There is an Akan family proverb which says, 'let a bit wash down your throat, let a bit wash down my throat, and we will all meet in one stomach'. It is meant to outline the advantages and disadvantages of the family system. It was presented to the University of Birmingham by Sister Evelyn Bellamy in 1968.

Goldweights were widely produced by the Ashanti and often represented proverbs relating to man and his societal position. The art of brass casting and metal arts in general flourished due to the large amounts of metal naturally occuring in the region. Metal casting was a skilled and widely practised art until the Ashanti war of 1874, after which most goldsmiths began to produce cheaper trinkets for the newly emerging tourist trade. Sister Evelyn Bellamy was a Methodist Missionary in Ghana and between 1914 and 1943 was headmistress of Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast. The Danford Collection is home to a large number of objects presented by Sister Evelyn Bellamy.

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