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Akan Gold Ring Depicting a Flower - FJ.6881
Origin: Ghana
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 2.25" (5.7cm) high
Collection: African
Style: Akan
Medium: Gold

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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. Three tiers of pointed petals, decorated with incised lines representing the veins of a leaf, radiate outward from a central conical shaft crowned by a spherical bead. Similar rings are believed to depict oil palm trees; however, this ring is more likely a representation of a blossoming flower. Here, the temporary beauty of a fragrant flower has been eternally captured in gold. Surely the luxury of this ring approaches the natural wonder of the flower it honors. Seen from above, this ring appears to imitate the rays of the sun radiating outwards across the heavens, illuminating the sky with warm light. - (FJ.6881)

 

 

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