When in Ghana shopping is a traveler’s sport. Racing to get as much as possible in record time. Going for the gold and silver jewelry. Jumping over hurdles and anything else to get that prize possession. It’s like being a kid in a candy store. Everything you see you want. At that moment you not worried if it will fit in your suitcase or if you have a place for it in your home. The opportunity to buy crafts direct from the artisans and often have it made right in front of you is truly priceless. Brush up on your bargaining skills and get on your mark. Get set. Go!
Traditional pottery in Ghana is simple and functional. Glaze is not common and the color of the pot depends largely on the type of clay used, although some pots are black from the smoke created during firing. Pots are still used to prepare, cook, and store food. Perhaps the most functional is the grinding bowl, which is shallow with ridges on the inside. Food is ground with a small wooden pestle. Pots are low-fired, therefore fragile, but inexpensive and for sale in every market and often on the roadside. Traditionally, potteries are made by women, but many men are contemporary potters with many design departures from the women’s motifs.
Adinkra is unique to Ghana. Designs are carved into a piece of gourd, dipped in a black tar like substance and stamped onto cotton cloth. The designs have meaning to those who can interpret them and traditionally Adinkra, made by men, was stamped on black cloth and worn to funerals by men. Now, Adinkra comes in many colors, although the designs are always black, and is worn on many occasions.
There are villages in Ghana devoted just to the art of stool carving. It is the Ashanti belief that the stool is the receptacle of the soul. Chiefs are ‘enstooled’ and when they die their stools are preserved with great ceremony in shrines. Stools are also everyday items, used instead of chairs. They range from the simple and
unadorned, to beautiful sculptures representing animals.
Ampabame Krofrom (Brass Castings)
Ghana was once known as the Gold Coast and brass weights cleverly
embellished with designs were used to weigh the gold. These gold weights were and are still made by men, using the lost wax process of castings. Of all the crafts, this one has perhaps translated best into contemporary usage. Because they are attractive, inexpensive and easy to carry, they are in great demand and have been interpreted into door pulls, boxes, small sculptures, napkin rings, etc.
In Ghana, men of the Ewe and Ashanti cultures perform traditional weaving. Animal distinguishes ewe crafts, human and symbolic patterns woven into
the cloth. The Ashanti are located in the Ashanti Region and are also known for their traditional crafts. Ashanti Kente cloth is usually geometric in design. Originally only kings, chiefs or people or prominent positions wore Kente.
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Theresa Noni Charles, Creative. Educator. Explorer.
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