Asafo flag - ROM2015_14959_1


Asafo flag

Maker: Unidentified Artist and Workshop
Medium:Cotton, applique, embroidery
Geography: Unidentified Company, Ghana
Date: c. 1940
82 × 152 cm
Object number: 2012.65.10
Credit Line: Federico Carmignani Asafo Collection; This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
Not on view

Warfare is not something that takes place only in the battlefield. For the asafo companies of western Ghana, competition among groups took as much an aesthetic as a military form. These military companies use flags to represent, in vivid and graphic ways, the values and ethos of the group.

This flag illustrates the proverb "The water bird can swallow a fish from the tail", an allegory suggesting the capability to accomplish difficult tasks. The beheaded fish represents rivals. As opposed to what is depicted here, water birds usually swallow a fish from the head in order to avoid back bones.

Global Africa
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