A royal gong

06 June 2020

This royal gong in brass is Akye (Comoé River region, Côte d’Ivoire). It is a masterpiece of lost wax casting, the motifs were made of applied wax threads. It probably dates from the 18th century.

The imported metal, probably shipped via the port of Grand-Bassam, was quite rare at the time. Therefore, only individuals at the top of the social hierarchy, such as chiefs, could afford such important and elaborate objects.

The physiognomy of the top trumpet player is comparable to that of the figures in the Akan figurative weights used to weigh gold powder, the largest of which were reserved for rulers.

Royal gong. Brass. H. 31,5 cm. Inv. 1007-181.
Photo Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet. MUSEE BARBIER-MUELLER.

Find this object in Arts of Africa and Ocenia. Highlights from the Musée Barbier-Mueller, 2007