Counselor's Staff (Okyeame Poma) (Primary Title)
Linguist's Staff (Okyeame Pome) (Former Title)

Possibly, Osei Bonsu, Ashanti (Asante), Ghana, 1900 - 1977 (Artist)

mid–20th century
wood, gold leaf
Overall: 65 1/2 × 7 × 8 1/2 in. (166.37 × 17.78 × 21.59 cm)
In many world cultures, gold and other valued materials are associated with both spiritual and temporal power. This gilded staff was the symbol of office for a linguist, a trained orator who spoke on behalf of the Asante ruler of Ghana. The gold leaf that covers the staff was strictly controlled by the Asante kings. The rooster and hen carved on the hilt illustrate an Asante proverb that asserts the prerogatives of the ruling elite: "Although the hen knows that the dawn is breaking, she leaves it to the rooster to announce."
Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund
Falling in Love Again. VMFA, Philip Morris Gallery, July 1 - September 25, 1994.

Spirit of the Motherland. Art Museum of Western Virginia, September 1995 - December 1995; Peninsula Fine Arts Center, January 1996 - May 1996.

Africa: The Art of a Continent. Geuggenheim Museum, June 5, 1996 - September 29, 1996.

Look Here: Dazzle, VMFA, November 2, 2005 - January 29, 2006.
© artist or artist’s estate

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