Gold elephants


British Museum

British Museum

Gold ornaments of the Asante were often shaped into animals, birds, fish and fruit. Goldsmiths were highly specialized craftsmen who in the nineteenth century enjoyed royal patronage. They could cast major items of adornment for senior chiefs only with the permission of the Asantehene, the King of the Asante, who received taxes for the manufacture of the item.The goldsmiths used the lost wax method to manufacture complex and delicate shapes. The item to be cast in metal is first modelled in wax and a clay mould built around it. A hole is made through the mould then heated until the wax melts and is poured out. Molten metal is then poured through the hole into the cavity. Once cooled and hardened the mould is broken open and the casting removed and cleaned.

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  • Title: Gold elephants
  • Date Created: 1800/1899
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 8.50cm; Width: 5.50cm; Depth: 2.00cm; Weight: 80.06g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: lost-wax cast
  • Registration number: Af1900,0427.44
  • Production place: Made in Asante Region
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Royal Palace
  • Peoples: Associated with Asante
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Gold Coast Government


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