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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Akan, Asante, Fanti : Akan Anthropomorphic Pendant
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Akan Anthropomorphic Pendant - OF.254 (LSO)
Origin: Ghana
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high x 3.9" (9.9cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Bronze-Brass

Location: Great Britain
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This striking abstract figurative pendant demonstrates characteristics suggesting an origin in the Akan area of what was once the Gold Coast (Ghana), but it is a highly unusual piece. Indeed, the main markers of a potentially Akan origin are the circular decorations, the coffee-bean eyes (although these are also found elsewhere) and the snake heads protruding from the left “sleeve”. The diamond shape of the head and the unusually dynamic pose of the limbs are essentially unrecognisable, and it is probable that this is a personalised representation of the human form by an unusually gifted sculptor of the Akan polity.

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 numerous natural-world gods under a main deity. Societies are ruled by Asantahenes and a host of minor chiefs. Social systems are particularly rigid, and signalled through the conspicuous display of artefacts made from gold, bronze/brass and wood. Pieces such as this are not as prestigious as gold items, but are exceptionally valuable for understanding the mythology of these people, which is rendered in their artefacts.

This is a striking piece of Akan jewellery.

- (OF.254 (LSO))


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