Military Arts of the Fante

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Flag dancing scene, No. 6 Company performing in front of No. 2 Company, Anomabu, FanteGhana, 1975. Photo by Doran H. Ross.


New flags are created to honor newly installed officers of the company and to replace old and tattered works. These new flags must be officially “outdoored” to the officers of each company in town and to the chief of the town. This is to ensure that the prerogatives of color, pattern, and motif are those appropriate to the flag's owner, or at least that they do not violate those of a rival. The flag is first danced in front of another shrine where their members are gathered. Then the flag formally unfurled and explained to the crowd. If there are no objections, the process is repeated at the rest of the shrines and in front of the chief, until full approval is reached. Contested flags are not allowed to be displayed or performed again.