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Pendant  (akrafokonmu, Soul washer's badge)
Date: Late 19th-early 20th century
Medium: Gold alloy
Dimensions: H x W x D: 10 x 10 x 2.3 cm (3 15/16 x 3 15/16 x 7/8 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of the Roy and Brigitta Mitchell Collection
Geography: Ghana
Object Number: 2010-10-1
Search Terms:
Male use
Object is not currently on exhibit

Circular pendants hammered from the thinnest of gold or cast by the lost-wax process are traditionally worn around the neck of court officials who maintain the spiritual well-being of Akan rulers and their land. These emblems of office are known as soul washer's badges and each bears designs that speak to the royal context in which they are worn. For instance, the fern depicted at the center of the pendant attached with its cord still intact refers to the Asante proverb, "the king does not fear insults."

Gold disk with two post holes, two sets of three half-spirals at the top and bottom and gold spirals at the center around a projecting disk and cone.

Roy and Brigitta Mitchell, Washington, D.C., -- to 2010

Slavery and Freedom, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 24, 2016 (ongoing)

African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., June 20-December 9, 2012; Newark Museum, February 26-August 11, 2013; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 23-November 30, 2014; Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Atlanta, January 31-June 21, 2015

African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013 (deinstalled March 22, 2012)

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