The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Akan Brass Casting

by Raymond Silverman
University of Michigan

14th century Egyptian brass container, Nsoko, Ghana. Photo by Raymond Silverman.


This large basin is locally referred to as Ayaa Kenten (lit., brass basket). Local traditions recall that it descended from heaven, and was gift from Nyame (God) to the people of Nsoko. There is little doubt that it has been maintained by the community for a long time. The formal characteristics of the bowl and the content of the Arabic inscription (that is only partially decipherable) indicates that it was manufactured in Egypt in the middle of the 14th century.