The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 2, 2024

Disk Pendant (akrafokɔnmu)

Disk Pendant (akrafokɔnmu)

1800s, before 1896

Did You Know?

Akan goldsmiths were organized into guilds, a kind of specialized group of artisans.

Description

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 kradware, 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 a typical pre-colonial example: 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.
  • ?-1896
    Treasury of asantehene (King) Agyeman Prempeh I, Kumasi, Ghana
    ?–1935
    (Charles Ratton Gallery, Paris, France via Pierre Matisse, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    1935–
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Sieber, Roy. African Textiles and Decorative Arts. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1972. P. 137. P. 137.
    Cleveland Museum of Art. “African Textiles and Decorative Arts.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 60, no. 9 (November 1973). Repr. back cover. www.jstor.org
    Wixom, William D. “African Art in the Cleveland Museum of Art,” African Arts 10, no. 3 (April 1977): 16-24. Repr. p. 21.
    Sieber, Roy, and Roslyn Adele Walker. African Art in the Cycle of Life. Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987. Exhibition catalog. p. 102, cat. no. 53, repr.
    Geary, Christraud M. and Andrea Nicolls. Elmina: Art and Trade on the West African Coast. Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. Exhibition catalogue. Repr. p. 8.
    Hudon, François, Line Lamarre, and Michel Vervais. Réalités : Histoire et éducation à La Citoyenneté. Québec : ERP Inc., 2008. Fig. 5.18.
    Petridis, Constantijn. South of the Sahara: selected works of African art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2003. Reproduced: cat. 19, p. 68 - 69
    Sims, Lowery Stokes. The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Content, and Culture in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2006. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 32, no. 35
    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. 40
    Cole, Herbert M., and Doran H. Ross. The Arts of Ghana. Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History, University of California, 1977. Mentioned: p. 153; reproduced: p. 155, fig. 324
    Robbins, Warren M., and Nancy Ingram Nooter. African Art in American Collections, Survey 1989. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. Reproduced and mentioned: pp. 202-203, fig. 515
    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. 101, cat. 58
  • African Textiles and Decorative Arts. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (organizer) (October 11, 1972-January 31, 1973); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (March 20-May 31, 1973); Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (July 2-August 31, 1973); The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (October 3-December 2, 1973).
    The Arts of Ghana. Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (organizer) (October 11-December 11, 1977); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (February 11-March 26, 1978); The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (May 3-July 2, 1978).
    Perfect Documents: Walker Evans and African Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (organizer) (February 1-September 3, 2000).
    The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Content and Culture in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Cleveland, OH (June 9-August 20, 2006).
    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 Brooklyn Museum: Masterpieces of African Art, cat. no. 34.
    NY: The Museum of Modern Art, 1972-1973: African Textiles and Decorative Arts. Also to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973; M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1973; and the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1973, cat. no. 162.
    Los Angeles, CA: University of California, Dickson Art Center, 1977-1978: The Arts of Ghana, cat. no. 324, p. 153, repr. p. 155. Also to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, February 11-March 26, 1978, and the Dallas Museum of Art, May 30-July 2, 1978.
    Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, African Emblems of Status, October 21, 1982-April 30, 1983.
    Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, African Art in the Cycle of Life, September 15, 1987-March 20, 1988.
    Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Elmina: Art and Trade on the West African Coast, October 14, 1992-February 28, 1993.
    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.
    MOCA Cleveland (6/9/2006 - 8/20/2006): "The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Content and Culture in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art", no. 36, p. 117, color repr. p. 32.
  • {{cite web|title=Disk Pendant (akrafokɔnmu)|url=false|author=|year=1800s, before 1896|access-date=02 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1935.310