Solomon Island Kapkap

Date: 20th century
Geography: Ghana, Africa
Culture: Akan people
Medium: Gold
Dimensions: H: 4 in. D: 0.5 in.
Credit Line: Gift of The John Young Foundation
Accession Number: 1998.1.129

The gold works of the Akan people of the southern African country of Ghana are some of the most prized in the world. The Akan gold craftsmen made goldweights, jewelry, pectoral discs, finials and sword ornaments that not only embodied wealth, but also ceremony. This pendant probably functioned in a ritual context, such as female puberty rituals, and would have been worn, which is evident by the two eyelets at the top and bottom, which may have been threaded with cords of fiber, which would have allowed the pendant to be worn as a talisman. The pendant was probably created by a process known as lost wax casting; where wax molds are made, covered in clay, and then filled with molten metal. Once the metal has cooled, the clay molds are removed, and the metal piece remains. This technique allows for fine details and deep grooves, which can be seen in this piece. The deep ridges and linear patterns cover the entire piece. There is balance and symmetry from the four pairs of semicircles grouped together by thick vertical bands. The circles sit within a crescent moon, horn shape at the bottom, which in turn cradles the entire piece.