Over 600 years ago the Akan started to make brass weights for weighing gold dust, the currency of their region in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Eventually they produced the most complete three dimensional inventory of any culture in history.
Virtually every animal, bird, fish or object known to them became the subject of a miniature sculpture. Human figures are represented in the activities of everyday life and sacred or courtly rituals, together with pioneer casts from nature and a wealth of abstract and ornamental designs.
The artist Tom Phillips has, in the last thirty years, built up the world’s most comprehensive collection of these lively and imaginative artefacts and here presents a selection of more than 500 chosen for their artistry and interest, accompanied by a full descriptive text about their history, styles and modes of manufacture.