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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Akan Gold : Akan Gold Hair Ornament
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Akan Gold Hair Ornament - CK.0017
Origin: Ghana / Ivory Coast
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 2.875" (7.3cm) high x 2.875" (7.3cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Gold

Location: United States
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In many cultures throughout the world, gold has been associated with status, power, prestige and wealth. As early as the 15th century, European merchants wrote about the richness of African gold objects used for adornment and intended for public display. Gold deposits were discovered in all regions of Africa, and became the most important commodity during pre- colonial times. The region of the Akan, spreading from the forest zone and costal areas of Ghana to the southern shores of the Ivory Coast, is the richest auriferous zone in West Africa. Several individual tribes make up the Akan people, the Asante and Baule being among the most famous, all united by their common ancestry and language. The royal courts of the Akan people were reportedly the most splendid in Africa. Oral tradition and iconography in Akan works of art are very closely connected. Verbal and visual symbolism tells stories or proverbs. Imagery of royal power on court ornaments carry out messages that helps keep the balance and continuity within the society.

Circular in form, rising upwards towards the center where three small loops crown the low conical peak, this gold ornament would have most likely been incorporated into an elaborate coiffure. It is also possible it may have been worn on a garment, or even on a necklace. The piece has been divided into four segments outlined by bands that form a cross-shape. The middle of each one of these four divisions is marked by an openwork triangle. - (CK.0017)


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