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New Acquisitions in African Collection

October 22, 2010

Two works of art from the Asante peoples in Ghana are now part of the DMA’s collection and are currently on view in the African galleries.  Both works of art were made for Asante chiefs and relate to proverbs.

The Linguist Staff has a finial which refers to an Asante proverb that states, “one who climbs a good tree always gets a push,” that is, if a chief’s intentions are good and fair, he will have the support of his people.  A ruler owns several linguist staffs in order to display the one that best visualizes the message he wishes to convey to his people at a particular time.

The Sword ornament in the form of a lion is a hollow cast gold sculpture.  Similar to linguist staff finials, the imagery on sword ornaments is meaningful.  The lion, for example, is an emblem for the bravery of the chief.  A proverb states, “If the lion has no intention to attack, it will not show its teeth before you,” advising a person to heed the warnings of a chief.  This lion’s teeth are bared.

Visit the Museum soon to see these new acquisitions!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Linguist staff (okyeame poma), Ghana, Asante peoples, first half of 20th century, wood and gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.1.McD

Linguist staff (okyeame poma) (detail), Ghana, Asante peoples, first half of 20th century, wood and gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.1.McD

 Sword ornament in the form of a lion, Ghana, Nsuta State, Asante peoples, c. mid-20th century, cast gold and felt, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.2.McD

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