Asafo flag - ROM2016_14990_16


Asafo flag

Maker: Essel Manso, Saltpond Workshop
Medium:Cotton, applique, embroidery
Geography: Unidentified Company, Ghana
Date: 1925-1950
100 × 175 cm
Object number: 2012.65.2
Credit Line: Federico Carmignani Asafo Collection; This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
Not on view

Warfare is not something that takes place only in the battlefield. For the asafo companies of western Ghana, competition among groups took as much an aesthetic as a military form. These military companies use flags to represent, in vivid and graphic ways, the values and ethos of the group.

This flag bears emblems of pride and prestige. The ornate white structure guarded by musket-bearing soldiers is the company’s shrine (called posuban). It is the most visible sign of asafo presence in the urban landscape. The padlock and key suggest a company’s ability to control access to places and people’s movements.

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