Overall: 7 x 7.6 x 1.6 cm (2 3/4 x 3 x 5/8 in.)
James Albert Ford Memorial Fund 1944.290
An 1886 letter indicates that the English doctor Harry T. Reilly received this disk as a gift from three Asante chiefs for providing them with medical care while they were imprisoned in Cape Coast Castle in the aftermath of the Second Anglo-Ashanti war (1863-64).
Gold discs dangling on the chests of Akan state officials and elites showed their rank and duties. Worn by these akrafo (“soul people”) since the 1800s, they are often linked to ɔkradware, officials who represent and purify (“wash”) the king’s soul. To make them, goldsmiths cast or flattened gold. Muslim North African gold coins likely inspired their form and material, while concentric water rings influenced their composition. This small disc is typical of pre-colonial examples: asantehene (king) Prempeh I reportedly owned this disk. The British emptied his treasury after deposing and exiling him in 1896. Gold ornament making ceased until 1924; court officials now wear large discs.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.