AKAN "AFENA" SWORDS and OBJECTS ARCHIVES, Ghana


The objects below have been sold and are left here for reference and educational purposes.

For unsold Akan Objects  GO TO AKAN OBJECTS PAGE

AKAN
Sword 3
28" high
SOLD

 

AKAN
Sword 1
17.5" high
SOLD

 

 


Photographs © Tim Hamill

These objects have all been vetted as being authentic with signs of use and age.

One of the most important symbolic objects of the Akan (Asante, Fante, Baule,etc.) peoples are the ceremonial swords called "Afena".  Some (Numbers 1-3), with white and offerings on them are called an "Okomfo Afena" and were used by shrine priests. They originated as practical weapons, then took on various ideological and ritual roles. Dull blades, sometimes with openwork, show they were not intended to be functional weapons. They usually have a curved iron blade and an ornate hilt shaped like a dumbell, which is sometimes covered with gold leaf.. The specific functions and forms of swords vary from state to state. In general, swords are (or were) used for swearing oaths, as symbols of rank and safe passage,  and for display.

---Dan Mato, Professor Emeritus of Art History, The University of Calgary

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