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Asante Gold

Pectoral disc made of gold.


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af,Ash.14

Additional IDs
Af1876C6.14 (old CDMS no.)

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 2.3

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

Title (series)
Asante Gold
gold (scope note | all objects)
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))
19thC early (before 1874)
Ethnic group
Associated with Asante (scope note | all objects)

Lost wax casting in gold of a uni-facial disc pendant (akrafokonmu) with a central raised conical boss. The boss is decorated with five loops and is surrounded by a raised circle of loops. Concentric circles of small coiled discs create the main body of the disc. The perimeter of the disc is decorated with a single row of openwork. The rim is embellished by two hemispheres that are soldered in place opposite one another and adjacent to the suspension lugs.

Width: 9 centimetres
Weight: 66.18 grammes
Height: 10.1 centimetres

Good, stable. Small section missing from rim (lp). Some small front sections missing from folded over edge. Some front sections bent over. Traces of core throughout. There is a burnt-in repair to one side of the boss.

Curator's comments
This disc was modelled in wax over a core which has been picked out. The decorative elements were created by fusing wax thread and coils to the wax model.

The disc exhibits two sorts of casting fault. The gaps in the rim have been caused by the failure of molten gold to reach and fill those parts of the mould. Conversely, molten gold flowed into places which it was intended should remain open.

This pectoral disc is very similar to Af, Ash.13 and Af, Ash.15 and was almost certainly made by the same goldsmith and/or workshop. Also similar to two beads: Af, Ash.22 and Af, Ash.23.

This disc pendant falls into the general category of dwinnee, but its design is also known in Asante as akyekyedee akyi (or akyiri), ‘the back of the tortoise.’ The spirals are thought to resemble the patterns of a tortoise shell.

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

Acquisition date

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 for 100.275 ozs. of 'Ashantee Gold Ornaments' at £371. 0. 4.

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