Michael Backman Ltd - Home  

Cast Brass ‘Peanut’ Ring
Akan, Ghana/Ivory Coast
18th-19th centuries

height: 5cm, weight: 16g

The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast were pre-eminent in metal casting n West Africa. They are particularly known for the many forms of cast brass
gold dust weights that they produced. Among the techniques the Akan used was to make casts from actual objects. This ring, with a bezel shaped
naturalistically as a peanut, is one such example whereby a cast has been taken from an actual peanut shell and used to produce a brass model that was
applied to a ring.

According to McClusky (2000, p. 79) the use of the peanut form need not be merely decorative or even be a direct reference to a relatively mundane
foodstuff, but may be a reference to the Asante proverb: 'If you want to grow something for me, plant groundnuts, not corn (a wish for a long-lasting
relationship as peanuts stay in the ground once planted but corn is easily uprooted and destroyed.

Philips (2010, p. 100) identifies another Akan or Asante proverb associated with the peanut: 'Marriage is like a groundnut, you must crack it open to find what
it contains.'

The ring here has substantial wear and a fine chocolate colour. It is marked to the underside with an old collection inventory number.

See McClusky (2002, p. 78) for a gold Asante peanut ring.

References:
McClusky, P.,
Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back, Seattle Art Museum, 2002.
Phillips, T.,
Africa: The Art of a Continent, Prestel, 2004.
Phillips, T.,
African Goldweights: Miniature Sculptures from Ghana 1400-1900, Edition Hansjorg Mayer, 2010.

Provenance:
Private Collection, Germany, acquired 1960-81

Inventory no.: 1873

This Item is available - Ask about this item

Click here to see more Tribal Art items.