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Unknown Maker
Ring with Frog
20th century

While Akan chiefs and royalty adorn themselves with an abundance of rings, necklaces and bracelets made from gold, less affluent people wear similar items produced from metal alloys, probably brass or bronze, as seen here. The motifs on these bracelets and rings echo the zoomorphic designs seen on many Akan goldweights, also represented in the Lang collection and testifying to the metalsmiths¿ skill in producing intricate workmanship on a small scale. Like the goldweights, these items were cast using the lost-wax method, whereby the metalsmith shapes the object first in wax, covers it with a clay mould, melts the wax and fills the resulting cavity with the molten metal.Metalsmiths are often inspired by nature, as is evident in this jewellery. The c-shaped bracelet, upper right, portrays four types of creatures: a snake, a mammal with large ears, three birds and a lizard. The rings feature, from the left, a rooster, two birds, a head with antelope-like horns, a chameleon and a frog. Some of these animals may have been chosen for their symbolism; for example, the chameleon was considered to bring trouble to people. Such a ring indicates that the wearer observed rituals intended to placate a malevolent spirit.

 
Unknown Maker
Akan peoples
Ring with Frog
20th century
metal alloy
3.5 x 3.1 x 2.5 cm
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-612

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