African Goldweights Miniature Sculptures from Ghana 1400-1900

Tom Phillips

A comprehensive survey of these lively and imaginative artifacts.


Over 600 years ago the Akan began making brass weights for measuring gold dust, the currency of their region in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. They eventually produced the most complete three-dimensional inventory in any culture in history.

Here is a selection of more than 500 weights chosen for their artistry and interest, accompanied by a full descriptive text about their history, styles, and modes of manufacture. Virtually every animal, bird, fish, or object known to the Akan became the subject of a miniature sculpture. Human figures are represented in the activities of everyday life and sacred or courtly rituals.


A significant trove of whimsical and artistic miniature sculptures. Of interest to most collectors, this book will especially delight aficionados of African art and folk art.

— Antiques & The Arts Weekly


Tom Phillips


The English painter, writer, and composer Tom Phillips curated the groundbreaking exhibition “Africa: The Art of the Continent” at the Royal Academy in 1992. He is himself a collector of African art, specializing in the arts of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. His other books include The Postcard Century.