- Place of origin:
before 1936 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by Mr W. C. Smith
- 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 gold ornament in the form of a bird was made using the ‘lost wax’ method of casting. It has a perforated tang so that it can be attached, possibly to a necklace, sword or item of headwear. Asante ornaments often feature representations of birds, animals, humans or manmade items. Many refer to popular Asante proverbs.
Cast gold ornament, in the form of a bird possibly a pigeon, with a pierced tang at its feet
Place of Origin
before 1936 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Height: 2.62 in, Width: 2.5 in
Object history note
Displayed in "V and A Africa: Exploring Hidden Histories"
15th November 2012- 3rd February 2013
Cast gold ornament, in the form of a bird, probably from a ceremonial hat, Asante, Ghana.
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