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Asante Gold

Model breast-plate, breast-ornament; made of gold; circular ornament with hollow cylinder across centre, circle containing nine sets of concentric circles at centre of cylinder; six bands of openwork fanning out from centre.


© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: BackFull: Back
  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Africa, Oceania & the Americas

Registration number: Af1818,1114.6

Additional IDs

Bibliographic reference
Sheales 2012 2.2


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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)
lost-wax cast (scope note | all objects)
Production place
Made in Kumase (all objects)
(Africa,Ghana,Asante Region,Kumase)
Place (findspot)
Found/Acquired Kumase (all objects)
(Africa,Ghana,Asante Region,Kumase)
Ethnic group
Made by Asante (scope note | all objects)

Lost wax casting in gold of a bi-facial open-work disc pendant (akrafokonmu). The centre of the disc pendant is formed from two circles that are cast with a void between them. They are decorated by nine small flat coiled spirals with raised bosses which are arranged in a symmetrical pattern. The main body of the disc pendant is configured into a series of concentric open-work rings that fan out from the centre. The rings are subdivided by equally spaced vertical lines that give the overall casting a net or webbed appearance. Some of the areas that were intended to be open-work have mis-cast as solid. The pendant can be suspended by means of an integral horizontal hollow tube that extends the width of the pendant.

Diameter: 6 centimetres
Depth: 0.5 centimetres
Weight: 43.12 grammes


Curator's comments
This disc pendant appears to combine two types of decoration, the open-work concentric circle pattern with a centre consisting of spirals, the design of which is known in Asante as akyekyedee akyi (or akyiri), ‘the back of the tortoise.’ The spirals are thought to resemble the plates on the shell of a tortoise.

Associated names
Associated with Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame Asibey Bonsu (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Mrs Sarah Bowdich (1855) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Thomas Edward Bowdich (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
1996 May-Sep, New York, Guggenheim Museum, Africa: The Art of a Continent

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