Visual Art Paper 2 (Essay) May/June 2015

Question 5

  1. Write notes on Ashanti Gold Weights:
    (a)        origin;
    (b)        uses;
    (c)        two subject matter;
    (d)       three symbolism;
    (e)        medium.


This question attracted very few candidates and in clear substantiation of inadequate knowledge of art history; most of these candidates failed to give the required responses. While some attributed the art form to ancient Egypt, others treated it as Akuaba and consequently, they lost a substantial part of the available marks. The candidates should have given some of the following in their responses:
(a)        Origin

         The gold weights are art forms of the Ashanti (Akan) people of Ghana.

(b)        Uses

         They are used for weighing gold dust before the introduction of currency
by the European.                                

(c)        Subject matter

-           Human figure – single or in group depicting legends and proverbs.
-           Animals – based on their symbolic connotations.
-           Inanimate objects – weapons, stools, drums, lamps, shields, ceremonial swords etc.
-           Symbolic geometric designs – straight line, zag-zag, crescent moon etc.

(d)       Symbolism

-           Animas are represented according to their symbolic meanings.
-           Two crocodiles with one stomach symbolize unity in diversity.
-           Lion symbolizes power.
-           Snake is a symbolic representation of death.
-           Geometric designs carry symbolic meanings e.g. the circle symbolizes the presence and power of God.
-           A straight line symbolizes the life-giving rays of the sun.
-           Zig-zag lines symbolize prudence and application of wisdom.
-           Undulating lines symbolize streams of life.
-           Crescent moon symbolizes female.
-           Encircled dot is a symbol of fertility.
(e)        Medium

Ashanti gold-weights were made of brass