- Place of origin:
before 1874 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Early European visitors to Ghana, West Africa, described dazzling displays of court regalia at the court of the Asantehene, the ruler of Asante state. The region’s natural gold resources had made the Asante wealthy and court regalia, which included textiles (kente), ivory and gold, reflected high levels of skill and technology.
This strip of gold with rounded ends probably formed part of court regalia. The small holes punched around its edge suggest that it was attached to something, possibly to headwear or to a state stool.
Following Asante efforts to protect a coastal trading outlet, British forces invaded the state capital Kumasi on 4 February 1874. The Asantehene, Kofi Karikari, fled leaving behind much precious regalia which was captured and later sold at auction at Garrard’s, the London crown jewellers. The Museum’s accession registers record the purchase of this and twelve other items of Asante gold and silverware from Garrard’s on 5 June 1874.
A strip of gold with rounded ends produced by the repoussé (hammering) technique. It would have formed part of court regalia and the small holes punched around its edge suggest that it was attached to something, possibly to headwear or to a state stool.
Place of Origin
before 1874 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Length: 19.5 cm, Width: 0.87 in Taken from Register, Depth: 10.8 cm
Object history note
One of thirteen items of gold/silverware which entered the V&A’s collections on 5 June 1874 (Metalwork dept. accessions register facsimile) with the source listed as ‘Garrard’. Following Major-General Sir Garnet Wolseley’s invasion of Kumasi (capital of the then independent state of Asante, Ghana) on 4 February 1874, the palace of the Asantehene was ransacked and the Asante forced to pay a war indemnity of 50,000 ounces of gold. On return to the UK, some of this gold was auctioned by Garrard’s, the London’s Crown jewellers, which is almost certainly how the V&A acquired these pieces. Records of the auction were lost during the Second World War.
Repoussé gold ornament, U-shaped for attachment to furniture or clothing, Asante, Ghana, before 1874
Cultural Connections: Africa (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/07/2008-30/06/2009)
Labels and date
Asante people, Ghana
The natural gold available in Ghana made the Asante people wealthy and powerful. Their court regalia, which included textiles, ivory and gold, reflected high levels of skill and technology. Much Asante gold, including most of these pieces, was taken as war indemnity by British forces following an invasion in 1874.
Gold and silver
Museum nos. 368:1 to 3-1874 (pipe), 369-1874 (pectoral disc), 372-1874 (ornament), 373-1874 (ornament), 374-1874 (ornament), 375-1874 (ornament), 376-1874 (bead), 377-1874 (ornament), 378-1874 (ornament), 379-1874 (spoon), 380&A-1874 (anklets)
Purchased by the Museum from an auction held at Garrard's, the London crown jewellers, in 1874
Museum no. 895-1875 (ornament)
Bought from Lt. Col. the Hon. J.R.W. Vesey in 1875
Museum no. M.454-1936 (ornament in the form of a bird)
Bought from Mr W.C. Smith in 1936
Metalwork; Africa; Jewellery; Black History