Sword ornament in the form of a lion

c. mid–20th century

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, United States

This hollow cast gold sculpture depicts a whimsical rendering of a male lion. Its fur and mane are created with incised lines and patterns. Despite its size, it originally served as an ornament on a state sword (afena) which is an essential item of Asante regalia. Similar to sword ornament motifs, the imagery on linguist staff finials is meaningful. The lion, for example, is an emblem for the bravery of the chief. A proverb states, "If the lion has no intention to attack, it will not show its teeth before you," advising a person to heed the warnings of a chief. This lion's teeth are bared.


  • Title: Sword ornament in the form of a lion
  • Date Created: c. mid–20th century
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 5 1/4 x 8 x 5 1/2 in. (13.335 x 20.32 x 13.97 cm)
  • Type: Tools and Equipment
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/5333031/
  • Medium: Cast gold and felt
  • culture: Asante peoples
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.
  • Artist: Unknown

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