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Asafo flag - ROM2016_15012_22

ROM2016_15012_22

Asafo flag

Geography: Unidentified Fante Nynkumase Company, Fante Nynkumase, Ghana
Date: 1925-1950
Maker: Kweku Kakanu (1910-1982), Saltpond Workshop
Medium: Cotton, applique, embroidery
Dimensions:
109 × 200 cm
Credit Line: Federico Carmignani Asafo Collection; This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
Object number: 2012.65.4
Not on view
DescriptionWarfare is not something that takes place only in the battlefield. For the asafo companies of western Ghana, competition among groups took as much an aesthetic as a military form. These military companies use flags to represent, in vivid and graphic ways, the values and ethos of the group. The whale is a mighty, awe-inspiring creature. Yet technological superiority may often overcome natural strength. A common saying associated with this flag motif is: “No one can defeat the whale except the ship.”
Terms
  • Ethnology of Africa