Frafra Leatherwork and Brass Bangles

by Fred T. Smith
Kent State University

Brass bangle on ancestral shrine. Frafra peoples, Ghana, 1973. Photo by Fred T. Smith.


Brass bangles may also become a symbol for a deceased individual--male or female--and can be used as a focal point on an ancestral shrine. Brass bangles were usually commissioned directly from the brass worker by a local customer or by itinerant trades people who would then sell them in the market place. By the 2nd quarter of the 20th century there was a sharp decline in the production of bangles, in large part the result of less brass being available. However, some brass casters are still producing smaller bangles.