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Asante Gold

Sheet gold uni-facial crescent-shaped pendant (akrafokonmu) with repoussé and stamped decoration.  Three raised bosses arranged in a symmetrical pattern around the body of the pendant are surrounded by a series of raised loops.  Six sets of double arcs, w

AN1212707001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af1874,0521.7

Additional IDs
Af1874,0520.7 (Registered in error)

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 1.1

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Object types
pendant (scope note | all objects)
soul disc (?) (scope note | all objects)

Title (series)
Asante Gold
Materials
gold (scope note | all objects)
Techniques
soldered (all objects)
repoussé (all objects)
punched (scope note | all objects)
Production place
Made in Asante Region (all objects)
(Africa,Ghana,Asante Region)
Place (findspot)
Excavated/Findspot Royal Palace (scope note | all objects)
(Africa,Ghana,Asante Region,Kumase,Royal Palace (Kumase))
Date
19thC early (before 1874)
Ethnic group
Associated with Asante (scope note | all objects)


Description
Sheet gold uni-facial crescent-shaped pendant (akrafokonmu) with repoussé and stamped decoration. Three raised bosses arranged in a symmetrical pattern around the body of the pendant are surrounded by a series of raised loops. Six sets of double arcs, which are positioned in the spaces in-between the bosses are flanked by three-leafed foliate motifs. The suspension loop is soldered front and back and the reverse of the pendant has six small rings of sheet gold soldered around the inner edge providing an alternative means of attachment.

Dimensions
Diameter: 10.3 centimetres
Depth: 0.7 centimetres
Weight: 28.74 grammes


Condition
Fair. Bent in places. Tiny splits at right proper.

Curator's comments
Pendants of this shape were worn by priests of Onyame, the supreme creator god. In recent times crescent-shaped pendants have been worn by the Asantehene's servants known as akra (soul-washers).

The small loops on the reverse of this pendant suggest that it may have been sewn or lashed to another item rather than suspended from a necklace.

In Akan proverbs the stars represent people and are contrasted with the moon, representing the chief. The stars remain unchanged while the moon waxes and wanes in the same way the people are always there though chiefs come and go.
Associated proverbs: 'The evening star desirous of being married, always stays close to the moon,' signifies in a political context that people love their chief and will support him.

‘The stars; the state belongs to them forever but not to the moon,' i.e. the state belongs to the people and not to the chief.



Associated names
Associated with Asantehene Kofi Karikari (biographical details | all objects)


Acquisition date
1874

Acquisition name
From R & S Garrard & Co (?) (biographical details | all objects)


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