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Box  (adaka)
Date: 18th-late 19th century
Medium: Copper alloy
Dimensions: H x W x D: 1.9 x 7.9 x 3.8 cm (3/4 x 3 1/8 x 1 1/2 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Cynthia E. Gubernick
Geography: Ghana
Geography: Côte d'Ivoire
Object Number: 70-20-54
Search Terms:
lizard
Trade
Object is not currently on exhibit

This sheet brass box was intended to hold gold dust. Persons would keep such a box with their weights and other equipment such as scales, scoops and spoons. More elaborate or larger boxes imply more wealth, just as larger collections of weights do. More common are cast copper alloy boxes with patterns that resemble geometric weights. The lizard on this box, like a figurative weight, may refer to a proverb: "The lizard says that unless God is tired he will never go hungry" which expresses complete trust in the providential care of God who in this proverb stands for all the benign forces that sustain life on earth.

Oval lidded sheet brass box with repoussé design of lizard on lid over dot background.

Cynthia E. Gubernick, collected by her father, Edward Gubernick, in West Africa, ca. 1925 to 1970


Slavery and Freedom, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 24, 2016 (ongoing)



The World Moves, We Follow: Celebrating African Art, Frank H. McClung Museum, Knoxville, January 10-May 18, 2003



Dewey, William J. 2003. The World Moves, We Follow: Celebrating African Art. Knoxville: Frank H. McClung Museum, The University of Tennessee, pp. 24-25, no. 18.


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