The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 2, 2024

Knife-sheath tip (sika boha)

Knife-sheath tip (sika boha)



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.
  • ?–1896
    Treasury of asantehene (King) Agyeman Prempeh I, Kumasi, Ghana
    (Charles Ratton Gallery, Paris, France via Pierre Matisse, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Wixom, William D. “African Art in the Cleveland Museum of Art,” African Arts 10, no. 3 (April 1977): 16-24. Repr. p. 21.
    Petridis, Constantijn. South of the Sahara: selected works of African art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2003. Reproduced: cat. 19, p. 68 - 69
    Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.), and James Johnson Sweeney. African Negro Art. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1935. Mentioned: p. 39, no. 162.
    Webb, Virginia-Lee, and Walker Evans. Perfect Documents: Walker Evans and African Art, 1935. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. Mentioned: p. 22; reproduced: p. 23, fig. 13, p. 68, no. 18.
    Petridis, Constantine. "A World of Great Art for Everyone." In Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display. Kathleen Bickford Berzock and Christa Clarke, 104-121. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. Mentioned: p. 112
    Brooklyn Museum. Masterpieces of African Art. Exhibition Dates: October 21, 1954-January 2, 1955. [Brooklyn]: Brooklyn Museum, 1954. Mentioned: p. 39
    Robbins, Warren M., and Nancy Ingram Nooter. African Art in American Collections, Survey 1989. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. Reproduced and mentioned: p. 202-203, fig 516
    Walker, Roslyn A., Martha J. Ehrlich, Christraud M. Geary, M. D. McLeod, and Doran H. Ross. The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Dallas : Dallas Museum of Art, 2018. Reproduced: p. 95, cat. 43
  • Perfect Documents: Walker Evans and African Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (organizer) (February 1-September 3, 2000).
    The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana. The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (organizer) (April 15-August 12, 2018).
    NY, Museum of Modern Art, 1935: "African Negro Art," cat. no. 162, (also to CMA 9/27 - 10/27, 1935).
    NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Perfect Documents: Walker Evans and African Art" 2/1/00 - 9/3/00, exh. cat. no. 18, p. 68.
  • {{cite web|title=Knife-sheath tip (sika boha)|url=false|author=|year=1800s|access-date=02 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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