The role of jewellery in Asante culture

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Jewellery as an art form is never static but ever changing, which change may be influenced by several factors including; Education, Christianity, Urbanization and Foreign culture. The extent of this influence in Asante is not easily measured. This thesis reports on the role of jewellery and the extent to which jewellery has been influenced by these factors from the foundation of the Asante Empire to the present. The study focused on the birth of the Asante Empire and the culture of the Asante as a people. It also examined the jewellery profession, production techniques, material for production and production designs. The study also examined the economic, political, religious and social roles of jewellery. It further evaluated the current status of jewellery in Asante culture. This was done through personal interviews using standard questionnaires and field visits to the Center for National Culture in Kumasi, some communities and chiefs’ palaces. It was observed that jewellery has and continues to play a significant role in the maintenance and promotion of Asante culture This role is economically significant in nation building There are however, some obstacles such as the state of the profession, capital, education and so on that needed to be dealt with. Suggestions to solving these problems were enumerated and it was realized in particular that a push by the jewelers themselves was inevitable and that could go a long way to not only help improve the living standards of the craftsmen but also make the profession attractive while lifting high the Asante culture.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Philosophy Degree (M.Phil in African Art), 2001