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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Akan Gold Ring
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Akan Gold Ring - CK.0021
Origin: Ghana / Ivory Coast
Circa: 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 1.5" (3.8cm) high x 1" (2.5cm) 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.

A flat platform crowns the tops of this ring. Upon this platform, as if a stage, is a complex arrangement of various elements. The main feature appears to be a horse, or possible a bird, seemingly laden with goods as if about to venture forth on a long journey. Likely worn by the king or a high-ranking member of his entourage, the subject likely represents the wealth and power that such a caravan of goods would imply. - (CK.0021)


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