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Asante Gold

King's badge made of gold.

AN149066001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: BackFull: Back
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Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af,Ash.28

Additional IDs
Af1876C6.27-29 (old CDMS no.)

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 1.3

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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)
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)


Description
Hollow lost wax casting in gold of a bi-facial star-shaped pendant (awisiado/ewsiasdo) with a raised conical boss. The boss is decorated with vertical incised lines and is surrounded by a series of solid concentric circles which are decorated with a continuous zig-zag pattern. The solid rim of the disc has a corolla of twelve triangular points which project outwards. Some of these points have triangular-shaped voids cast into the reverse. The reverse of the pendant is decorated in a similar manner as the front but with open-work concentric circles rather than solid. The centre consists of a flat circular ground sub-divided into triangular sections, two of which form voids and two in-filled with cross-hatching. Soldered on to either side of the rim are two suspension lugs.

Dimensions
Height: 6.2 centimetres
Width: 6.4 centimetres
Weight: 34.18 grammes
Depth: 0.5 centimetres


Condition
Good. Rays on back are bent and have holes. Central section has splits along one edge and on repaired area. There is some crushing damage to the back.

Curator's comments
Pendants in this form were worn by the priest of Onyame, the Supreme creator god, but in recent decades pendants of this shape have been worn by the Asantehene's servants known as akra (soul-washers).

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.

Some of the open-work elements of this pendant have been filled with gold as a result of mis-casting.



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


Acquisition date
1876

Acquisition name
Purchased from Crown Agents for the Colonies (biographical details | all objects)


Exhibition History
Exhibited:
1995, London, Crafts Council, African Metals


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