Spectacular Collection of Golden Regalia From Ghana
West African Gold: Akan
Regalia from the Glassell Collection showcases the extraordinary craftsmanship of goldsmiths and weavers of
Ghana, and presents many works by Asante artists.
ring with "starburst", jewelry from the Asante kingdom.
BOSTON, MASS.- , the exhibition features more than 100 examples of
royal dress and adornment—jewelry, staffs, crowns, sandals, swords, and
figurative sculptures—drawn from a collection given to The Museum of Fine
Arts, Houston by Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., the most extensive collection of
African gold in an American museum. This exhibition has been organized by The
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In celebration of the exhibition opening, the King
of the Asante people of Ghana, His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II—officially
known as the Asantehene.
“The momentous visit of the Asantehene to the Museum underscores the
importance of this stunning collection of African gold,” said Malcolm Rogers,
Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “We’re honored to have the
opportunity of hosting the Asantehene, as well as presenting the extraordinary
craftsmanship and traditions of the artists of the Akan realm.”
The royal dress and adornment which are on display in the exhibition—some of
the most spectacular in Africa—provide excellent examples of the splendor of
Akan gold. Akan kings envelop themselves in sumptuous golden items of personal
adornment including crowns, sandals, and jewelry invested with special meaning
and relating to Akan traditions.
On view through March 26, 2006 in the Loring Gallery at the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)
the Boston Museum
of Fine Arts,
465 Huntington Avenue
View some African Art pieces at the official Boston MFA
Akan jewelry in the form of golden necklaces, bracelets, and rings comes in a
myriad of designs, ranging from those inspired by Victorian jewelry and other
western objects, such as watches the Akan came to know during their long
relationship with European traders on the West African coast, to the depiction
of animals, which have always been very important symbols in Akan culture. Most
Akan arts allude to proverbs or other expressions such as jokes, riddles and
folktales. For example, a Chief’s ring with bird and cannons on view
represents the military strength of the chief. The body of the bird has the
shape of a square knot, a symbol of wisdom and the ability to solve problems
among the Akan who say, “only a wise man can untie the square knot.”
This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The kente cloths on view from the Akan realm are recent MFA acquisitions.
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Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
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