Akan symbols derived from brass and gold weights
April 2010

Akan art encompases not only kente weaving and Adinkra symbols but in addition to these there is metal work, carving, bead work and other crafts. Some of these brass and gold weights are actually the solid (or 3 dimensional) versions of some Adinkra symbols. These weights were not just skilled works of art, the shapes the weights took also represented certain aphorisms and proverbs. The step pyramid is an example of a symbol that exists both in metal work and as an Adinkra symbol (called 'sumpie'). Traditionally, brass and gold weights were used for commerce, for the sale of gold and other goods.

Akan Brass weights (ram)
(Photo credit: Rattray, Religion and Art in Ashanti (1927))

Collection of brass weights
(Photo credit: Zaslavsky, Africa Counts (1973))

More brass weights
(Photo credit: Zaslavsky, Africa Counts (1973))