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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts
in Africa

Gold elephants

AOA 1900.4-27.44

Gold elephants

From: Ghana (Asante)
Date: probably 19th century AD

This is a gold brooch which would have been worn by the Asantehene, the King of the Asante. It is shaped like three elephants in a row. To the Asante, one elephant means the power of a chief, and three together means the power of a king.

If you look carefully you can see two little birds riding on each gold elephant's back.