Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

balancing toy
  • Gio peoples
  • balancing toy, mid 1900s
  • Where object was made: Liberia
  • brass, stamped
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: a and b together 25 x 22.5 x 14 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: a and b together 9 13/16 x 8 7/8 x 5 1/2 in
  • Gift of C. Susan Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2978.a,b

The brass bird (2007.2978.a) has weighted extensions to either side intended to balance on a base (2007.2978.b). The bird has a prominent topknot of feathers and a long beak. The body, wings and tail are flat. The edges are decorated with short diagonal parallel lines and have bowtie shapes stamped in the middle. The diamond shaped weights extend from thin pieces of brass. Each are decorated with a row of stamped "X's" and scallops.

The base is a flat lizard, with a large body and very small, short legs. The body is decorated with stamped semicircles on the edges and zigzag scales over the back and head. There is a square stem, each side decorated with a row of "X's" topped with a small disc to accomodate the balancing point on the bottom of the bird.