Gold of Africa: Jewelry and Ornaments from Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal

April 5, 1989 – August 28, 1989

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

On view are more than 200 objects of adornment and regalia--bracelets, rings, necklaces, hair ornaments, earrings, staffs, umbrella tops, and swords--worn by people of and royalty of West Africa. Gold jewelry and court regalia were prevalent among the Maure, Tuareg, Tukulor, Fulani (Peul), Wolof, Akan, and other peoples of the West African Sahel, the belt of dry grassland that lies south of the Sahara Desert, an area today that includes the nations of Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal. These gold objects were symbols of power and prestige to traditional kingdoms and their peoples. Displays of gold objects can still be seen on ceremonial occasions in African nations. The objects were created using a variety of techniques--lost-wax casting, repousse, filigree, and gold leaf, among others. The objects range from almost pure gold to alloyed mixtures of gold and silver or gold and brass.

The exhibition is drawn from the African collection of the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.


No photography permitted.