Set of metal weights

India, eighteenth century
From the Lewis cabinet

A collection of nine graded pieces of metal adjusted with accuracy to a fixed weight and to a uniform purity. The original idea of the use of precise weights of metal for commercial purposes was closely related to the secondary function of fixed units of value developing into money. Ancient Sanskrit texts noted that weights of metal were in use ‘for the purposes of worldly business’ in early India at the time of the Vedas. By the reign of the Emperor Akbar (1542–1605), the rupee had become accepted as the legal currency in India. The weights are listed by Lewis in his printed catalogue and so formed part of his original collection.

Extended captions