Brocade Applique Akunitan

Dramatic appliqued akunitan cloth from the Asante people of Ghana.




AKUN21 – Akunitan means “cloth of the great” and is the Asante name for a type of spectacular decorated cloth worn only by senior chiefs and kings. There were two distinct styles, one embroidered, and the other, represented here, using applique techniques., both resulting in an extraordinary display of design and creativity. A number of these cloths are in major museum collections. The motifs, like much Akan art, allude to proverbs and royal imagery. As Cole and Ross note in the volume “Arts of Ghana” (1977) “each “cloth of the great” is in fact a set of allusions to a chief’s power and responsibility.” Two crocodiles share one belly in the blue and red motif at the lower row, for example.  Brocade, velvet, and shiny gold metallic tape were used on a imported brown wool background.  Some losses to the metallic tape throughout, otherwise in neat clean condition. Dates from mid C20th.

Measures 130 ins x 82ins, 330 cm x 210 cm.

Photo shows Nana  Aburam Akpandja III, king of Buem kingdom. From A.A.Y. Kyerematen Panoply of Ghana, (1964.)


All items on this site are vintage. That means that they may have a few small marks or blemishes consistent with use. We will try to highlight any significant issues in the description above but in the event you are not happy with your purchase please notify us within 48 hours of receipt and you may return it for a full refund (excluding return shipping costs.)