Ashanti Gold Weights,Ghana
Gold weights were used to measure gold dust, one of the most significant trade activities in West Africa, and that led to the rise of several important empires. Each of them had a set weight against which gold dust was measured. Gold weights were stylised in the shape of mythic figures to depict Ashanti tales and proverbs such as those in Anansi stories.
Ibeji Dolls,Yoruba, Nigeria
Among Yoruba, where twin births and deaths are frequent, the spirit of the dead twin is embodied in an Ere Ibeji (wood carving), the surviving twin throughout its life is made responsible to care for the doll.
Ga Coffins: Fishing Boat; Carpenter’s Plane, Teshi, Ghana
Fantasy Coffins, originated among the Ga of coastal Ghana, are designed from lumber to resemble figures ranging from animals and plants to man-made objects, as a way to represent the life activities and fortunes of the dead and to usher them off in style.
Awari Game Board, Ghana
The Awari is made from board with a series of holes arranged in rows. The holes may be referred to as pits, depressions, or houses. The playing pieces are seeds, beans, stones or cowry shells. The object of the game is to capture more seeds than one’s opponent. The game has 48 seeds and capturing 25 is sufficient to win the game. The game though can end in a draw where each player captures 24 seeds. Players of Awari are urged on by onlookers, making it perhaps the most social two-player abstract game. It is still a focal point for people to meet and entertain themselves and pass time. Youngsters use it as a means to hone their mental skills and to become more acquainted with their people. Awari is also played outside of West Africa as well as in certain Caribbean territories. It is best compared to chess.
Ashanti Stool, Ashanti, Ghana
The stool is the embodiment of Ashanti ancestral leadership and authority. As the symbolic ‘seat’ of lineage and status passed down through generations, wherever it is placed or may be taken, the stool is given special treatment so as to honour the dead. In the Akan artistic tradition, support columns correspond also to well-known sayings or specific persons, in this case the Ahema Dwa (Queen Mother). Stools among the Ashanti are related to the legend of the Golden stool that fell from the sky in the lap of Osei Tutu, the first King of the Ashanti.
Makonde Sculpture, Tanzania
The Makonde Sculptures are made from a single piece of wood from the African blackwood/ Mpingo tree. The sculptures reflect the intricate and complex society of the Makonde people of Tanzania. Most Makonde sculptures represented social and spiritual scenes.
Shango Staff ,Yoruba, Nigeria
Shango is the Yoruba god of thunder and lightening. The Shango Orisha (priests and priestesses of Shango) carry staffs during religious ceremonies. Other times, the staff served as symbol of a person’s identity as a devotee of Shango. Shango staffs may be placed over doorways to ward off theft and misfortune.
Kola Nut Bowl, Yoruba, Nigeria
Kola Nut Bowls, such as these were used to hold kola nuts (obi) as offerings of hospitality, which were given to visitors as a gesture of welcome, and friendship.