845 x 1250 Akan Leadership Arts, Page 4 - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art

Akan Leadership Arts

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Sika Dwa Kofi (the Golden Stool of Asante), Asante artist, Kumase, Ghana, 1995. Photo by Frank Fournier.


Stools are the most complex and important of all Asante arts. The Golden Stool was said to have been delivered from the sky by the priest Okomfo Anokye to land on the knees of the first Asantehene, Opuku Ware I, in the late 17th century. This stool houses the soul of the Asante nation and is the supreme symbol of the kingdom. Attached to the stool are one gold and two brass bells (not seen in the image), which announce its presence, and four gold enemies (seen just below the stool) representing defeated enemies of the Asante. Above and to the right of the Golden Stool is the gold-covered Apirede drum, also called to earth by Okomfo Anokye, and between the two is the dwete kuduo (see page five of this essay).