This complex multi-component gold ring was made by the Akan peoples of what was once appositely named the Gold Coast – now Ghana. The Akan are a loose assemblage of tribes – including the Akuapem, the Akyem, the Ashanti, the Baoulé, the Anyi, the Brong, the Fante and the Nzema – that share general cultural trends while maintaining separate tribal identities. Their society is highly ritualised, with a main deity, and a host of lesser gods that are connected with the natural world. The society is ruled by Asantahenes, and a host of minor chiefs. The Akan attracted colonial attention from Europeans, then Islamic groups, due to the long history of gold mining and working in the area, which has been taking place for at least 600 years. The Akan consider gold to be the embodiment of sunlight and a physical manifestation of life’s vital force, or “kra”. It underpins the economy, and is used for the manufacture of royal regalia and many aspects of elite life.
This would have been worn by an elite member of Akan society, and is a superb piece of Ghanaian art.
- (FJ.6881 (LSO))