Collections: Arts of Africa: Asafo Company Flag (Frankaa)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Necklace

Among the Dogon, jewelry often serves as much more than personal adornment. For example, bracelets, rings, and necklaces might signify that ...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Landscape

    This quiet, enclosed landscape subject, very likely set in the Catskills or Adirondacks, represents the direction in which Asher B. Durand h...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    Asafo Company Flag (Frankaa)

    Asafo is a Fante military institution, made up of local companies, each with its own name, number, regalia, shrine and set of flags, and imagery. This Asafo flag most likely dates from before Ghanaian independence in 1957 (note the British Union Jack in the upper-left canton) and served as an emblem of pride. The image in the field, of a creature looming over a decapitated corpse, suggests a severe warning to hostile parties. Fante arts, from a coastal area subject to more than five hundred years of direct interaction with European traders, bear witness to a long history of the creative borrowing of European forms. The three-headed monster here was probably inspired by the mythical creatures of European heraldry.

    • Culture: Fante
    • Medium: Textile with appliqué and embroidery
    • Geographical Locations:
    • Dates: early to mid 20th century
    • Dimensions: 56 x 36 1/2 in. (142.2 x 92.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of Africa
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 2009.39.1
    • Credit Line: Designated Purchase Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Fante. Asafo Company Flag (Frankaa), early to mid 20th century. Textile with appliqué and embroidery, 56 x 36 1/2 in. (142.2 x 92.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Designated Purchase Fund, 2009.39.1. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 2009.39.1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
    • Catalogue Description: The object is a double sided, textile (cotton?) Asafo flag. The flag is composed of a patchwork of red, black, blue and beige (cotton?) fabrics sewn together with beige, red or black (cotton?) thread. Appliqué and embroidery are used as design elements on both sides of the flag. The hoist of the flag is made of a band of beige fabric that has been folded over and sewn along the vertical edge to allow room for a pole. An exterior border of fringe, consisting of two layers of cut beige fabric, is found on both the top and bottom lengths and the fly end of the flag. Immediately within the fringe is a single band of alternating red and beige triangular, fabric segments, which interlock to form a bi-color square pattern. The canton (upper left quadrant) is a Union Jack made with a patchwork of red, beige, and blue fabric pieces. The field consists primarily of a black fabric background with appliqué design elements. There is a large, three-headed monster located in the central section of the field. The monster has wings, a curly tail with an arrow tip, and talons. It is composed primarily of beige fabric with red appliqué details on the feet and tail. Black embroidery is used to delineate the swirl of the tail and the outline and pupil of the eye; red to accent the edges of the wings and depict the tongue, whiskers(?), and eye; and beige to depict the teeth. All embroidery appears to be done in a chain stitch. There is a headless figure and shot gun visible below the Union Jack. The figure is a peach-colored fabric appliqué with red embroidery at the neck and along the waist, and black embroidery delineating the fingers. The gun is a red fabric appliqué with red embroidery delineating the trigger and trigger guard.
    • Record Completeness: Best (83%)
    advanced 110,573 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.