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Asante Gold

King's badge made of gold.

AN149070001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • RectoRecto

Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af,Ash.27

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

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 1.2

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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
Lost wax casting in gold of a bi-facial star-shaped pendant (awisiado/ewisiado) with a central raised conical boss. The boss was cast separately and soldered from the front onto the flat body of the disc. The boss is decorated with symmetrical raised loops and is surrounded by a series of concentric open-work circles. The solid rim of the pendant has a corolla of twelve triangular projections that face outwards. The ground of the pendant is decorated with a series of concentric circles, each of which is decorated with open-work triangles. The reverse of the pendant is cast solid and is decorated in a similar manner as the front. Soldered on to each side are two suspension lugs.

Dimensions
Height: 7.2 centimetres
Width: 7.4 centimetres
Weight: 54.96 grammes
Depth: 0.8 centimetres


Condition
Good. Small casting holes on front and back. Splits and damage in central section at front and left proper. There are small soldered patches and what appears to be a burned-in area to the face of the disc just to the inside of one of the suspension lugs.

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.

‘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
1876

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

Acquisition notes
See Christy Correspondence (File C) Letter from W Sargeaunt, Crown Agents for the Colonies, 22 January 1877, confirming price of £371. 0. 4. for 100.275 ozs. of 'Ashantee Gold Ornaments.'


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