AKUN20 – 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.” The crocodile and fish motif, for example, illustrates the saying “fish grow fat for the benefit of the crocodile.” Squares of a number of different colours and types of luxury fabric, including felt and velvet were sewn together to make the background for the appliqued imagery. Some losses to the green felt have been repaired, otherwise in neat clean condition. Dates from mid C20th.
Measures 134 ins x 81ins, 341 cm x 205 cm.
Photo shows Nana Aburam Akpandja III, king of Buem kingdom. From A.A.Y. Kyerematen Panoply of Ghana, (1964.)
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