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Spoon  (saawa)
Date: 18th-late 19th century
Medium: Copper alloy
Dimensions: L x W x D: 16.4 x 4.9 x 2cm (6 7/16 x 1 15/16 x 13/16in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bevill, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Bresler and Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Schulman
Geography: Ghana
Geography: Côte d'Ivoire
Object Number: 75-22-11
Search Terms:
Trade
geometric motif
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. This example combines a sheet brass bowl with a heavier handle with incised decoration.

Spoon with round sheet brass bowl attached with three copper pegs to heavier weight handle. Handle is shaped of stacked incised geometric forms, some with openwork. Handle is rough at the bowl end, appearing to have been reused.

Mr. and Mrs. Eric de Kolb, New York, before 1970


Bevill Bresler & Schulman, Newark, New Jersey, after 1970 to 1975


Caravans of Gold Fragments in Time, Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL, January 24, 2019–February 23, 2020



Ashanti Goldweights and Senufo Bronzes: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eric de Kolb, Art Gallery, University of Notre Dame, September 6-November 15, 1970


University of Notre Dame Art Gallery. 1970. Ashanti Goldweights and Senufo Bronzes: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eric de Kolb. Notre Dame, no. 26.


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