The Many Powers of Gold: Akan Art

West Africa, Ghana. Akan (Asante) artist: Disk pendant or pectoral badge (akrafokɔnmu), late 19th century. Gold, diam. 7.2 cm. Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund (y1982-17). Photo: Bruce M. WhiteExplore the Princeton University Art Museum’s collection of works by Akan artists. A common language (Twi) and visual culture link the Akan peoples of present-day Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. For more than three hundred years, Akan artists have drawn inspiration from nearly seven thousand proverbs, translating words into visual symbols that express local religious, political, and cultural values, as well as the wealth, power, and character of the works' owners. Royal regalia and objects of personal adornment made in wood, metal, and textiles provide examples of Akan artists’ techniques, including lost wax casting, gold leafing, and weaving.

We see these categories as a starting point for discussion and research, and we welcome you to share your own ideas for other themes or works to be included.