Ashanti Bronze Jar

Ashanti Bronze Jar


Hand Crafted in Southern Ghana

This piece is an Akan/Asante/Ashanti kuduo, created in Southern Ghana. A kuduo is a small vessel used for storing gold dust or other valuables. It was created using the “lost wax technique,” one of two main techniques the Akan (the largest ethnic group in Ghana) used in casting: direct casting and lost wax casting. In direct casting, a small object is encased in clay and then fired. The object inside (something like a shell, insect, or seed pod) is incinerated, and the clay shell remains and is then filled with molten metal. In lost wax casting, the technique used to make this piece, a sculpture is made out of wax and then coated in a thin layer of clay. The whole piece is fired, melting the wax and leaving an empty clay shell that molten metal is poured into. The clay shell is then shattered, leaving the finished metal piece. 

Gold dust was the main currency used between the Akan and Europeans on the coast, as well as with neighboring peoples to the north. Gold dust was measured by weight against small brass weights, and held in kuduos like the one displayed here. They were also used to hold magical fetish material. The scene depicted on the lid of the kuduo, in this case several figures and an umbrella, often depicts tribal history or the royal court. The ladders on either side, each holding an ascending figure function as handles. The Akan mix beauty and function in this classic bronze piece.  

11" x 7"