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Web of Art 15: African Interactions

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L. Gold Ornament C. Gold Dust Box R. Medieval Coin
19th-20th c African (West) Asante (Ashanti) Metalwork

ASANTE (ASHANTI) Anonymous (active 1471 - present) Primary
ASANTE (ASHANTI) Anonymous (active 1471 - present)
c. 1800-1950
19th-20th c
Lost Wax
Asante (Ashanti)
London. Museum of Mankind.
Needless to say, word of the fabulous wealth of Mansu Masa spread through Europe and aroused even greater interest in gold of Africa. The Europeans had long imported gold from Africa, gold that came via the Arab traders carried on the trans-Saharan caravans. While there is no longer any trace of the fabulous wealth of the rulers of ancient Ghana, we do have some Ashanti gold ornaments that were created in early times, as well as gold Ashanti and Akan gold weights and boxes for gold dust, like the one seen in the center. The French gold coin seen on the right was quite possibly made with the gold that came from Africa. Europe's gold reserves had always been quite limited, and were confined to a few alluvial deposits. During Roman and medieval times there had been a steady drain of gold to the east to pay for the luxuries the Europeans wanted. By the 11th century silver coinage, which was cumbersome had replaced god. The first return to gold coinage is reported in Florence in 1254, the result of Italian trade activity with North Africa. It was here that the gold dust that came from the mining areas of the Sudan was melted into gold ingots which were sent the great trade centers of the Mediterranean.

Caption: ASANTE (ASHANTI) Anonymous | L. Gold Ornament C. Gold Dust Box R. Medieval Coin| L. c. 1800-1950 R. 14th c | L. African (West) R. French | L. Asante (Ashanti) R. Gothic.
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