Asafo flag - ROM2016_15012_20


Asafo flag

Maker: Kweku Kakan Kakanu (1910-1982), Saltpond Workshop
Medium:Silk, cotton, applique and embroidery
Geography: Unidentified Company, Ghana
Date: c. 1945
100 × 162 cm
Object number: 2012.65.1
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 assert its company spiritual and intellectual superiority by referring to the proverb “We control the cock and the clock-bird.” Both these birds announce dawn with their cries, and this flag suggests that its owners had the supernatural power of controlling time and deciding when things may happen.

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