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Spoon  (saawa)
Date: 16th-early 18th century
Medium: Copper alloy
Dimensions: H x W x D: 13.1 x 4 x 0.7 cm (5 3/16 x 1 9/16 x 1/4 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of the Roy and Brigitta Mitchell Collection
Geography: Ghana
Object Number: 2010-10-29
Search Terms:
Trade
Object is not currently on exhibit

Until the end of the 19th century, gold dust was used in business transactions by the Asante and related peoples in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. Special spoons known as saawa, usually made of sheet brass, lifted the gold dust from a storage box and placed it on one side of a beam scale to be measured against a weight.

Brass gold dust spoon with incised lozenges and a disc-shaped handle end.

Roy and Brigitta Mitchell, Washington, D.C., -- to 2010


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


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