Asafo flag - ROM2016_15057_7


Asafo flag

Maker: Baba Issah, Petubew-Asebo Workshop
Medium:Cotton, applique, embroidery
Geography: Unidentified Company, Ghana
Date: c. 1950
105 × 149 cm
Object number: 2012.65.28
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.

Caught in the trap, the bush cow is quite hopeless, despite its size. In this image the trap is controlled by a duiker, a small forest antelope that the Akan considered very intelligent. The message is clear: “brains over brawn.”

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