Manhyia Palace Art Symbols as a Medium for Education and Information Dissemination

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What are traditional art symbols used at the Manhyia Palace as decorative motifs on several royal regalia, objects and paraphernalia have been created under the patronage of the various Asantehene since the reign of Nana Osei Tutu I, the first Asantehene. It is assumed that these symbols have meanings that provide information and education in addition to their aesthetic value. The objectives of the study were to find out the extent to which the Manhyia Palace symbols have been used to educate and disseminate information in the society; the type of information, depth of interpretation and education and the effect of the education and disseminated information on societal attitudes and behaviours. The research methods used to unearth information were descriptive and qualitative. The research tools used were observation at Palace durbars and regalia, interviews of persons who are conversant with the art symbols, photography of the symbols and the administration of two hundred (200) copies of questionnaire. This dissertation unearthed more and new information that could be added to the present scanty information available which will support the claim that the Manhyia Palace symbols have been used to educate and inform the society since their creation and that the symbols would continue to serve these purposes. It was found out that the different Manhyia Palace symbols have not been as comprehensively researched as this one. Although the symbols are Akan related, it was found out that some non-Akan Ghanaians have learnt about them and they have achieved global popularity adding to their national value. The dissertation is presented in seven chapters. Chapter One is the introductory chapter featuring the background study, problem statement, objectives, research question, delimitation, limitations, purpose and importance of the study, method of research, ethnographic study of the Asante and the arrangement of the rest of the text. Chapter Two reviews the literature on the subject under study from available published and unpublished sources while Chapter Three presents the methodology and instruments used in acquiring data. Chapter Four chronicles the history of the Kings of Asante from Nana Osei Tutu I to Nana Opoku Ware II (1401-1999) to show their patronage of the various types and number of the symbols. Chapter Five identifies, describes and presents the functions and importance of the symbols. Chapter Six features the analysis using the charts and discussion of the major findings of the research, leading up to the conclusion that the Manhyia Palace symbols have meanings useful for the promotion of positive societal behaviours. Chapter Seven, the final chapter, summarises the whole work, drawing conclusions and making several recommendations pertaining to the significant value of Asante Palace symbols to the society at large. A major recommendation was that the Manhyia Palace traditional art symbols and their meanings should be made easily accessible regularly so that members of the society could fully appreciate them in order to become better informed and educated about their inherent values.
A dissertation submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in African Art and Culture, May-2011