Frafra Leatherwork and Brass Bangles

by Fred T. Smith
Kent State University

Female with anklet. Frafra peoples, Ghana, 1973. Photo by Fred T. Smith.


By the late 18th and early 19th century, the Frafra and neighboring Kassena areas were important centers for the casting of brass bangles. The northern Ghanaian brass casting tradition was tied to similar developments in Burkina Faso. Unlike stone and ivory bangles, which represent status and wealth, brass examples, worn by both men and women, are usually protective in nature. They can also communicate a commitment or obligation.