Friday, 8 November 2013

Ashanti, Ghana: A pair of sandals of a royal dignitary

“Gold has always been important among the Akan peoples (Ashanti, Fante, Baule, etc.) in the south of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. This area was formerly called the ‘Gold Coast’. Gold was used to make jewellery, gold dust served as ‘currency’, and many objects and regalia at the king’s court were covered in gold leaf. This pair of sandals once belonged to a court dignitary of an Ashanti King (‘Asantehene’): made of leather, covered with black velvet and decorated with gold leaf at the edges. The black straps are lined inside with green fabric and externally decorated with wooden objects that are richly covered with genuine gold leaf: both with a large floral rosette at the front, followed by two rows of buds and pieces of gold. In any case, shoes which obviously testify to the wealth and rank of their wearer”

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