Military Arts of the Fante

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Posuban (cement shrine) with frankaa (flags). No. 6 Company, Anomabu, FanteGhana, 1979. Photo by Doran H. Ross.

While most posuban are conceptually based on the European forts that line the coast of Ghana, at least six shrines are modeled after European warships. The present example has a fireplace and chimney inside, which is employed at the beginning of a festival to produce smoke plumes out of the smokestack. Somewhat ironically, the anchors are lowered at this point. Also initiating festival activities is the display of a series of company flags on the bow or alternatively the company’s impressive 100-foot long banner (see back cover Cole and Ross: 1977). Like the imagery found on royal regalia and the shrine sculpture, motifs are also drawn from the oral literature of the Akan.