Jun 10, 2009

Knife-sheath tip (sika boha)

Knife-sheath tip (sika boha)



Overall: 6.4 x 2.1 cm (2 1/2 x 13/16 in.)

Weight: 4.19 g (0.15 oz.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1935.309


Gold sheaths covered the cast iron blade of a king’s ceremonial knife (sikay), wrapping them with symbolism. In Akan states like the Asante Kingdom, gold embodies life force (kra) and is the sun’s earthly counterpart. Only goldsmiths’ guild members could make gold ornaments for the royals and their entourage, or for the royal treasury. Here, the goldsmith used a tool to push the raised floral, leaf, and geometric designs from the back of a soft sheet of gold (repoussé technique). Small dots outlining some motifs were punched into the metal. Similarly decorated gold sheets and solid ornaments capped a knife’s handle.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Arms and Armor
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.