847 x 1250 Akan Leadership Arts, Page 3 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art

Akan Leadership Arts

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, Asantehene, Asante artist, Kumase, Ghana, 1995. Photo by Frank Fournier.


The Asantehene is being carried around the Kumase Stadium prior to sitting in state at his Silver Jubilee (see page two of this essay). He is riding in a palanquin draped in a blanket from Mali under a large state umbrella. Leaning against each side of the palanquin are state swords. The cast gold sword ornament at the bottom left depicts a hen with her chicks and illustrates the proverb, “The hen steps on her chicks not to hurt them, but to correct their behavior” (Kyerematen 1961: 10, 14). Here the hen is a metaphor for the nurturing role of the king.