1984 October 16 - 1985 March 17
Asante: Kingdom of Gold featured a collection of about 800 artifacts of the Asante people of Ghana from the British Museum's Museum of Mankind. The exhibition came to the American Museum of Natural History from the British Museum's Museum of Mankind and was originally curated by Malcom McLeod, and then by Enid Schildkrout, curator of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History (1, p. 1). The exhibition, designed by Michael Blakeslee of the Museum's Exhibition Department, was constructed around a recreated royal courtyard meant to show the atmosphere of an Asante village on a festival day (2). Major funding for the exhibition and related programming was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (3, p. 2).
A scientific symposium, public lectures, and a royal Asante procession up Central Park West from 72nd Street to the Museum entrance on 79th Street with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II and New York mayor Ed Koch, (3, p. 2; 4; 5, p. 4) were among the special events associated with the exhibit.
Highlights (1; 2):
*Replica of the Asantehene's palace façade
*Carved furniture, including stools, which were meant to represent the spiritual state of their owners
*Gold weights cast in bronze
*Drum made in Virginia by enslaved person from the Gold Coast
*Multi-colored royal umbrellas used on state occasions
*Silk and cotton textiles
*Gold sword ornament cast in image of a porcupine
*Historic photographs from pre-colonial period and British conquest
Related programs organized by the Museum's Department of Education included (5; 6):
*Symposium: "Asante and its Neighbors: Relations with the Exterior"
*Lecture: "Recreating the Kingdom of Asante" with Malcolm McLeod
*Lecture: "Rise of the Asante Empire" with Albert Adu Boahen from the University of Ghana
*Lecture: "Contemporary Position of the Asante in Ghana" by Kwame Arhin of the University of Ghana
*Lecture: "The Golden Jubilee of the Asante Confederacy" by A.S.Y. Andoh, honorary attache to the Asantehene (king) and former professor at the University of Ghana
*Lecture: "The Feminine Eye in Kumase: Asante Women and their Arts" by Sylvia Ardyn Boone of Yale University
*Music and dance program: "Asante Durbar" performed by Dinizulu and His Africa Dancers, Drummers and Singers
This is a condensed summary of the exhibition. For additional information, see Sources and/or Related Resources.
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