Akan Leadership Arts

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Ntahera horns of the Asantehene, Asante peoples, Kumase, Ghana, 1995. Photo by Frank Fournier.


This ensemble of ivory trumpets typically proclaims the arrival of the Asantehene and also plays to ceremonially awaken him on important occasions. These side-blown trumpets with a tone hole at the narrow end can reproduce the tonal language of the Akan peoples and thus “sing” the praises of the king: “The bush dog would like to be a leopard, but he could not. Somebody would like to be the King, but he could not” (Boaten 1993: 39).