Akan Leadership Arts

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Queen Mother, Abeadze Dominase, Fante peoples, Ghana, 1975. Photo by Doran H. Ross.


The Akan are a matrilineal society, which gives considerable power to the queen mother in the political hierarchy of the state, even to the extent that she is closely involved with the selection of the chief. She generally has her own regalia and royal stool. In this image she is distinguished by a crown, horsetail flywhisk, and gold jewelry, all royal attributes. Instead of wearing two cloths as upper and lower wrappers, a queen mother, as seen here, may wear a single kente draped over the shoulder in the same fashion as a man. In recent years this practice has been coopted by powerful and wealthy women outside of the royal family.