An Akan, Ashante, Ghana Cast Brass Shrine Stool with an elephant support
An Akan, Ashante, Ghana Cast Brass Shrine Stool with an elephant support

An Akan, Ashante, Ghana Cast Brass Shrine Stool with an elephant support

1800 to 1900 Ashante, Ghana

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An Akan, Ashante, Ghana Cast Brass Shrine Stool with an elephant support
19th Century

Size : 10 cm high, 15 cm wide, 7 cm deep – 4 ins high, 6 ins wide, 2¾ ins deep
Provenance : Ex collection of an English Private Museum

The Akan live in the forest and coastal areas of South Eastern Ghana which in colonial times was the Gold Coast of West Africa. Cast in the same lost wax process as their gold weights this elephant sculpture could be a headrest, but is more likely to be a shrine stool, as stools are important Akan court regalia. The Akan state stool is carved with a gold leafed elephant and is said to symbolize the strength and power of the state.
There are many Ashante proverbs regarding the power, majesty and ways of elephants : one is 'the person who walks behind the elephant doesn't get wet from the dew on the grass'. However most Akan have not seen living elephants for over 200 years, but the idea and spirit of the elephant thrives and is sustained by their folklore and art.

Dimensions
Height 10.00 cm (3.94 inches)
Width 15.00 cm (5.91 inches)
Depth 7.00 cm (2.76 inches)
Medium
Cast Brass
Finch & Co

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