Overall: 4.3 cm (1 11/16 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1935.311
Gold sheaths covered the cast iron blade and handle 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 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.
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