The Akan are known for distinctive artefacts made from both cast and sheet brass, including vessels, implements, and gold weights. This late 19th Century lidded container displays a distinctive form, with an open-work basal stand. The flat lid of the container fits inside the vessel rim, and features a small rope-twist handle. Encircling a central pinwheel-like design at the centre of the lid are finely chased metal decorations in bands of geometric motifs.
It is possible that this thinly wall brass vessel is an Akan forowa (pl. mforowa) container - a prestige article used for storing shea butter. Mforowa vessels are closely related to Akan nkuduo containers, which were stylistically inspired by fourteenth to fifteenth century Middle Eastern vessels brought via the trans-Saharan trade. Mforowa and nkuduo display a similarity in their forms, which is most visible in the bases - some nkuduo having open vertical ribs, a feature that appears duplicated in the repoussé grill work decoration often found on the bases of mforowa.
Estimated Period: Late 19th/Early 20th Century
Christoper R. DeCorse, 'Brass Working and Mforowa Manufacture among the Akan of Coastal Ghana during the 17th–20th Centuries', Afrique Archéologie Arts, p. 20
(Click on images to enlarge)