Akan – Ghana

Akan – Ghana

Akan People of Ghana

The Akan are a proud people, who consider themselves as the same nation, even though they break down into a plethora of sub-groups. The word “Akan” indicates enlightenment and civilization. 

Akan culture is primarily matrilineal, meaning they tract their lineage through female tribe members and mothers. Stemming from that, they also have 12 patrilineal spirit groups, called Ntoro, or egya-bosom. With their lines traced through mothers instead of fathers, their tribe can trace the line of succession with ease. Akan kings rule in conjunction with a female counterpart, known as the Queen-mother, who is seen as a figurehead of the clan. Think of her like the Queen of England, little political pull, but much power in the persuasion of the people.

Each family has its own chief, the Abusuapanin, is the family elder, and branches off from the main tribe into branches called Jaase, which translates to the kitchen in the literal sense. Once appointed as chief of the family, an Abusupanin will rule until their death.

Their language, also called Akan, has many dialects, the most common and possibly oldest being Twi. Within each branch of their tribes, a collection of city-states and states are controlled by local tribal leaders in Ghana.

Their storytelling, superior craftsmanship, and intricate artwork make them one of the most civilized tribal cultures in all of Africa.

Art Styles Akan are Renowned For:

  • Terracotta Sculptures
  • Lost-Wax casting methods
  • Bronze Gold-weights
  • Mythological Stories (Anansesem – literally meaning spider stories)
  • Kente Cloth Arts

Rooted in tradition, and still practicing ancient religion and art styles, Akan art gives us a glimpse into the past. Their classical lost-wax casting methods inspire modern artists even to this day, and collectors the world-over seek their bronze-gold weights made with superior quality. Akan people take pride in their word, and create beautifully intricate masterpieces while staying rooted in their traditions and respecting women in their culture. 

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