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Asante Gold

Gold ornament comprising tubular spine with 4 overlapping discs either side.

AN1024242001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af1874,0521.5

Additional IDs
Af1874,0520.5 (Registered in error)

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 1.5

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Object types
pendant (scope note | all objects)

Title (series)
Asante Gold
Materials
gold (scope note | all objects)
Techniques
lost-wax cast (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)
Associated with Baule (?) (all objects)


Description
Lost wax cast gold pendant of rectangular shape formed by eight separately coiled discs positioned two abreast either side of a central suspension tube. The discs are positioned so that each one overlaps its neighbours and the long sides of the central tube.

Dimensions
Length: 9.7 centimetres
Width: 5.5 centimetres
Weight: 63.7 grammes


Condition
Fair. Missing section from end disc. Parts missing from three others. Numerous cracks and tears. Wear marks around the tube.

Curator's comments
Ornaments of this sort are associated more closely with Baule rather than Asante art. This may indicate that some sort of contact was maintained between the two peoples after 1730 when the Baule emigrated westwards to their present location.

This type of bead is known by the Baule as srala/boloa atre ‘Bamboo Door’ which is said to symbolise the chief; it sees what is happening both inside and outside the house, just as the chief knows all that is happening in both his village and outside. The spiral construction of the discs may carry a meaning of creation and regeneration.

Pendants in this form appear to have been worn by the Asantehene's servants known as akra (soul-washers) although fewer of them are known. It is quite likely that this ornament was worn as a pendant at major public festivals as an item of courtly display.



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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