Glossary

aberemponnaasee  anklets

abosodee  a representational gold casting which is attached to the sheath of a state sword

abotire  royal head band or fillet adorned with gold ornaments

abrafo  executioners

adinkra  white or red cotton cloth stamped with signs, which is worn at funerals
and other important occasions

adwini ba  bone spatula

adwini dua  bamboo spatula

adwini nua  wood spatula

adwini pono  a wood block used to fashion wax on

afena  state sword

afenatene  a long sword

Ahwerewamuhene  ‘the Keeper of the Golden Elephant’s Tail Fly-whisk’

akra (pl. akrafo)  soul-priest

akrafena  swords of the soul

akrafokonmu  disc pendant

akyeame  linguists

aperahofo  fly-whisk bearers

Asantehene  title of the Paramount Chief of Asante

asaadee  gold necklace

asuman  (pl.) amulets

ayannee  neck-wear

ayefor  the female initiation rite of girls into adult womanhood following their first menses

barra  menstruation period

batakarikese  a man’s outfit comprising a tunic and head-dress that are covered in amulets. This outfit is worn during times of conflict including war and at important funerals

benfra  cuff bracelets that are hinged on one side

Boaman  The state umbrella of the Asantehene (lit.‘Conqueror of all Nations’)

bosomfena  swords of the ego, personality (lit.‘swords of the God’)

da  tongs

denkyemkye  a ceremonial helmet worn by the Asantehene

dwinfour  the goldsmiths’ quarter of Kumase in the early 19th century

ebura  a furnace

eyke  collective name for all types of head-wear

esene  court heralds

ewontomanu  large square, rectangular or cylindrical beads, in Twi (lit. ‘under cloth’ or ‘clothing beads’)

foa  a wax model

Fotosanfohene  ‘Keeper of the Leather Bag’ containing the royal gold-weights

fufu  the colour white

Gyasewa fekuo  the name of the Asante State Exchequer

hyehyeye  an iron needle

hyire  white clay that is worn on the face and body during funerals and other rites

inchuma  finely ground red clay or ochre

keteanofena  swords of state (lit.‘edge of the sleeping mat swords’)

kokoo  the colour red

kra  soul or life-force

krobonkye  kidney-shaped skull-cap worn crosswise on the back of the head

Kumasehene  chief of Kumase

Kwaman  the name the Asante were known by before the battle of Feyiase in 1700–1

kyinie kyimini  umbrella-bearer

 

mankata  a square cushion-shaped bead named after Sir Charles McCarthy, a British Governor who was beheaded by the Asante in 1824 at Katamansu

mmoabaa  an open shallow pit

moan sika  gold chain worn around the neck or crosswise over the chest and right shoulder

mogya  blood

Mpomponsuo  an important state sword used by the Asantehene to swear a public oath to serve his people during installation rites

nkoron dwuma  shaft mines

nmem  a type of sword ornament in the form of a simple embossed circular disc

nsuaefena  sword on which oaths are sworn

ntiriba  hair-pin

ntoa  a piece of military attire worn by soldiers that include small knives, cartridge containers and powder flasks as well as amulets

ntuatire  carved umbrella finial

odwira  purification or cleansing (lit. ‘to wash’)

okyeame  a linguist

okyeame poma  a linguist’s staff

Onyeame  the name of the supreme creator God

otadee  a disc ornament attached to the centre of a stool seat in Twi (lit. ‘like a pool’)

Oyoko the name of the royal Asante matri-clan (a group of individuals who are related to one another by matrilineal descent from a common female ancestor),from which are drawn the kings of Asante

safi  an Islamic amulet

sebe  Islamic amulets

sekan  a blade

semoa  a small clay crucible

sika  gold (see following entries)

sika akua  gold drum

sika akuma  gold axe

Sika Dwa Kofi  ‘the Golden Stool born on a Friday’, the ultimate symbol of power in Asante

sikadwumfo  goldsmiths

sika kodua  gold panning

sikananfo  goldsmith

sikammera  ‘the golden elephant tail fly-whisk,’ symbol of Asante wealth

sikampra  an elephant tail fly-whisk

sika sankuo  gold harp

sika sepo  gold knife

suman  amulet

sunsum  that part of the soul which is the ego, spirit or personality that is inherited from your father

taasen  tobacco pipe

tabon  wooden stick

tabono  wooden stick or spatula

tiduaba  hair-pin

tuntum  the colour black

Twi  the language spoken by the Akan peoples of Ghana