Akan goldweights were cast from brass using the lost-wax method, which reached the region from the north. The metalsmith would model an image in wax, cover it with a clay mould, melt the wax out with heat and replace it with molten metal, usually brass. Because the wax original disappears during the process, each casting is unique. Regulating the heat of the fire without modern controls would have demanded great experience, as weights had to conform to specified units to be functional. The skills that enabled metalsmiths to transform material from one state to another also accord them special status in sub-Saharan Africa.Here we see a bird, a fish, a bull¿s head, a tortoise and a beetle, which was cast from life. The smith dispensed with the wax modeling and wrapped the clay around the beetle, a technique used for small objects close to hand.