Asante Kuduo Bronze Pot

  • Tribe: Asante / Ashante
  • Origin: Ghana
  • Approx Age: Early 20th Century
  • Materials: Bronze
  • Dimensions cm: 17.5 Long x 23 wide (Outer of ladders)
  • Ref. Number: 0215

A nice old Asante Kuduo bronze pot, this has been repaired a few times so must have been loved by its original owner to do so. It probably would have had a lid to go with it originally but unfortunately was not with it when we purchased it.

The Asanti  or Ashanti  as is the more common spelling today, live in central Ghana in the Rainforests of West Africa approximately 150 miles away from the coast. The Ashanti are a major ethnic group of the Akans (Ashanti and Fanti) in Ghana, Ghana is a fairly new nation, barely more than 50 years old, and Ghana was previously called the Gold Coast.  Asante are best known for their other royal arts, which include staff and umbrella finials, lost-wax cast gold jewelry, and brass gold weights. Bronze items would have been made using the lost wax process.

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Asante Kuduo containers

Ornate, cast brass vessels known as kuduo were the possessions of kings and courtiers in the Akan kingdoms. Gold dust and nuggets were kept in kuduo, as were other items of personal value and significance. As receptacles for their owners’ kra, or life force, they were prominent features of ceremonies designed to honour and protect that individual. At the time of his death, a person’s kuduo was filled with gold and other offerings and included in an assembly of items left at the burial site.

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The elaborate form and complex iconography of this kuduo reveal the broad range of aesthetic traditions from which the Akan peoples have drawn to create their courtly arts. Goods from Europe and North Africa, received in exchange for Akan gold, textiles, and slaves, included vessels that may have partly inspired the design of this and other kuduo. The repeating bands of geometric patterns incised into the surface, as well as the elegantly flaring foot, body, and handle, may reflect Islamic influences. A latch mechanism on the exterior reflects the value of the materials kept within and alludes to the vessel’s symbolic function of keeping its owner’s kra secure.

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