Online Collections at UoB - Objects
ID number: BIRRC-D0236.3
Institution: Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection: Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker: Unknown
Title / Object name: Snake-Shaped Goldweight
Object type: Metalwork
Place made: Africa: Ghana
Measurements: (1) 2 cm (2) 2.5 cm (3) 3.2 cm
This is one of a set of Ashanti goldweights, or 'sika abrammoo. It represents a coiled snake in spiral form with a diamond-shaped head, the head being longer than BIRRC-D0236.1. 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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