Asante weights for gold dust
Gold was central to the Asante economy and commercial transactions used gold and gold dust. Brass weights were used to measure out exact quantities of gold dust to pay for particular goods or services. Everyone had their own set of weights to prevent cheating.
The brass to make the weights was hard to obtain and imported mainly from Europe. Weights came in all shapes and sizes, often with European influences, as in these shaped as guns and cannons and a soldier and captive. The weights were also worn as jewellery and used as storytellers' charms. The storyteller would hang the charms on his hat and people would point to a charm to hear its story. Hundreds of thousands of Asante weights survive from the 18th and 19th centuries, showing how commonly used they were.
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