Yaw Tony - ASHANTI MOTIF SERIES V
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Okwasea redi ne sika a, ose ne nsenĩa ye merew
When a fool is squandering his gold dust, he says his scales are out of order.
Sika, original meaning, gold, gold dust, now stands for money (gold, silver, or copper).
Nsenĩa. Scales. Light balances are used by the Ashantis for weighing gold dust. The weights, commonly known as ‘Ashanti weights’ are cast from metal by the cire perdue process and often show a high degree of aesthetic art. Each weight is designed to represent some object man, woman, animal, hunting-belt, pumpkin, &c., &c. The process of casting is as follows: A rough model of the object desired is worked in clay; when dry this is coated all over with beeswax, and all the finishing touches added. The whole model is then covered over with clay; a duct, or passage being left, leading to the wax. The clay is now heated, when the wax runs out leaving a space between the first and second layers, which would seem to point to these having originally been used as weights, and it would be most interesting to take, say two seeds from the tawa tree and compare the metal weight of that name, when the value of gold dust in ancient times might be roughly gauged. There ~ seem to be three bases of currency, the mpésewa, the taku, and the aɔkie, corresponding(approximately) to our 1d. 6d. 48. 6d. The designs used for weights would seem often to be symbolical.
Merew. – Soft, yielding, here of scales, easily weighed down, hence out of order.
Extracted from ASHANTI PROVERBS