gau [Maldivian]

In the Maldives, at least as early as the 17ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass, approximately 114 grams. opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system



The king gives each of the twelve a heavy silver ring or bracelet,¹ to put on his right arm, of the weight of a quarter of a pound (which is called a gaux,² and is like our weights), and to the captain one of gold: these they wear when the king goes to fish.

2. M[aldivian]. gau, or galé; cf. Sin[halese] gala, “stone”; now also = ¼ lb. A Cypræa mauritiana shell, bearing the Sultan's seal in wax, is the regular “Imperial gau” in the southern atolls (Bell, Report, 118).

Albert Gray, translator and editor, with the assistance of H. C. P. Bell.
The Voyage of François Pyrard of Laval to the East Indies, the Maldives, the Moluccas and Brazil. Vol. 1.
London: The Hakylut Society, 1887.
Page 189. Pyrard was in the Maldives from July 1606 to February 1607. Bell's Report is

H[arry] C[harles] P[urvis] Bell.
The Máldive islands: an account of the physical features, climate, history, inhabitants, productions, and trade.
Colombo: F. Luker, acting government printer, Ceylon, 1883.


The above presents may be made either in rice, salt, cummin-seed, chillies, coriander seed, which are taken by measure ; or in dates, catechu, turmeric, and onions, which are taken by weight; six gull [gau] or one and a-half pound, of the latter being considered equal to six bamboos, or twelve seers, of the former.

Lieutenant J. A. Young, I.N. and Mr. W. Christopher, I.N..
Memoir on the Inhabitants of the Maldiva Islands.
Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society from 1836 to 1838.
Bombay: American Mission Press, 1844.
Page 84.


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