- Asante peoples
- Late 19th–early 20th century
Kuduo are cast brass containers for storing valuables; they were also used in religious, social, and civic rites. Arabic calligraphy and geometric motifs were introduced to Akan peoples via the trans-Saharan and trans-Sudanic gold trade. Several Asante towns became important trading centers with a strong Muslim presence. By the 16th century, brass vessels had been assimilated into Akan culture as sacred objects. Their decoration was a combination of Muslim and Akan surface designs. Later, Akan metalsmiths created new configurations and designs based on the prototypes.
This object is an example of a casket kuduo, which are the most complex and typically largest form of Asante cast brass vessels. They have three integrated parts: a pedestal base, a body, and a hinged lid. The lid of the vessel is decorated with geometric relief castings of a stepped pyramid, and other forms that may represent powder kegs and beads. Over time, the complexity of casket kuduo decoration increased; later examples bear figural scenes in high relief.
- Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Label text, 2018.
- Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Learn more about the function and significance of kuduo.