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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Akan Gold : Akan Gold Ring Depicting Three Birds
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Akan Gold Ring Depicting Three Birds - FJ.6879
Origin: Ghana, Africa
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 1.25" (3.2cm) high
Collection: African Art
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.

The sumptuous ring probably belonged to an Asante chief and represented his wealth and taste. The depiction of three birds might relate to a proverb, thereby adding a social or political element to the symbolism of the ring. A central bird crowns the ring and is flanked two birds that face towards him. All birds feature a large crest in the center of their heads. The birds are magnificently composed by wound gold thread forming their hollow bodies and heads. Although the true meaning of this ring is far richer than we can decipher, we are still able to appreciate its beauty as a stunning work of art and as a symbol of the wealth of the Asante Kingdom. - (FJ.6879)


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