Barakat Gallery
Login | Register | User Services | Search | Newsletter Sign-up
Barakat Gallery
HOME : Islamic Art : AS.USA : Akan Gold-Plated Wooden Staff Finial
Click to view original image.
Akan Gold-Plated Wooden Staff Finial - CK.0592
Origin: Ghana/Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 12.75" (32.4cm) high x 3.75" (9.5cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Gold and Wood

Additional Information: AS.USA
Location: United States
Currency Converter
Place On Hold
Ask a Question
Email to a Friend
Previous Item
Next Item
Photo Gallery
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
Click photo to change image.
Print image
The Akan are a loose assemblage of tribes – notably including the Ashanti and the Baoulé – that share general cultural trends while maintaining separate tribal identities. Their society is highly ritualised, with numerous minor gods that represent the natural world, but who receive their power from a principal god (the Ashante principal god is named Onyame). The Akan tribes are highly independent and autocratic – their nation has come under the covetous gaze of numerous European and Northern African (Islamic) colonialists, and this has made them rigid in terms of social order and centralised power. The main reason for this imperial interest was the long history of gold mining and gold 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”. They are known for the manufacture of regalia for the royal courts but also finds its way into almost every aspect of elite life. Solid gold and gilding was used to make many of the court insignia that signalled status in the Akan royal court system. Elites often wore gold jewellery, as did the king and his retinue. Special insignia were made to mark out courtiers or diplomats with particular functions, such as translators, which is the reason for the current piece.

This is the head of a linguist (or translator) staff. Known as kyemae poma, they are still used in Ghana as markers of special status within and between royal courts, as diplomats and translators. They are typically zoomorphic, with hollow bases, on a blackwood staff banded with gold plates at intervals. They were based upon the European habit of carrying silver-topped canes, and thus are a relatively late development in the Akan cultural repertoire. Courtly regalia were decorated with designs that were referred to as “abosodeå”, or “things of the fetish”, and which held some significance for the user or the tribe in question. This staff is surmounted by a bird, a common motif in Akan art. The platform upon which the bird rests has been embellished with engraved geometric motifs. Two truncated faces, showing only the nose, eyes, and hairline are decorate opposite sides of the bulb that demarcates the beginning the of the gilt areas from the raw wooden base. - (CK.0592)


Home About Us Help Contact Us Services Publications Search
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Security

Copyright (c) 2000-2022 by Barakat, Inc. All Rights Reserved - TEL 310.859.8408 - FAX 310.276.1346

coldfusion hosting