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Pendant in the Form of a Sawfish

Arts of Africa

In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, regions that acquired great wealth from the mining and trading of gold, rulers displayed their status by wearing a profusion of gold ornaments, even attaching such objects to umbrellas and swords. Although many of these ornaments are abstract geometric shapes, some represent human faces or animals, as in the piece shown here depicting a sawfish. Such works were made using the lost-wax casting method, in which a clay mold was made around a modeled wax form. The mold was then heated and the wax poured out, after which molten gold was poured in and solidified in the form of the original wax model.

DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 2 3/16 x 3/8 x 2 15/16 in. (5.5 x 1 x 7.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE A . Augustus Healy Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION An oval body of open lattice work, edged by rows of circular openings. A long tail curves around one side and is made of wrapped 'threads.' The head is cylindrical with two projecting eyes. There are two rings for suspension. Condition: Very good.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Ebrié. Pendant in the Form of a Sawfish, 19th century. Gold, 2 3/16 x 3/8 x 2 15/16 in. (5.5 x 1 x 7.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A . Augustus Healy Fund, 49.32.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 49.32.2_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 49.32.2_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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