This crown represents a blending of cultures. It is European in style and depicts native African animals: an elephant and a duiker, a type of small antelope. The design relates a famous proverb about the importance of intelligence. "Although the elephant is the biggest animal in the forest, it is the wise little duiker that rules the forest." For centuries, the chiefs and court members of the Akan peoples have worn a variety of creative headdresses, often adopting European-style crowns and helmets. This crown is fashioned from gold sheet. Such crowns of pure gold are extremely rare. The fern leaves on this crown relay the message "The chief does not fear insults," because the Akan words for fern and insult are similar. Ferns are also thought to grow even in difficult circumstances and under harsh conditions, so they are seen as a symbol of endurance and success over adversity.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Artist
Ewe peoples
Title
Crown
Date
1900–1950
Medium
Repousse sheet gold
Dimensions
Overall: 6 3/4 × 7 in. (17.1 × 17.8 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr.

Current Location
The Caroline Wiess Law Building
201M BLAFFER GALLERY
Accession Number
97.788
Classification
Ceremonial Objects & Regalia
Provenance

Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. (1913–2008), Houston, before 1997; given to MFAH, 1997.