Counselor's staff (Okyeame Poma)


Osei Bonsu (Asante Artist, Ghana, 1900–1977)


ca. 1935


Wood and gold-leaf


60 × 6 1/2 × 6 inches


Purchase with funds from the Friends of African Art and Fred and Rita Richman

Accession #


On View

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 410

Gold leaf-covered sculptures surmounting staffs such as this one embody proverbs that communicate ideas about wisdom. Counselors to Akan kings and chiefs carry resplendent gold staffs on public occasions to send silent messages to their audiences. The imagery of this finial sculpture relates to proverbs associated with good leadership. A focused facial expression animates the figure, while a gold leaf-covered wisdom knot ornaments the three-part handle. The artist, Osei Bonsu, was widely known for carvings like this one and served three Asante kings in addition to providing regalia for many other Akan chiefs across much of southern Ghana during an active career spanning nearly sixty years.

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