Ghana is part of an area that was a major source of gold for European and Islamic markets prior to the discovery of the metal in the Americas. The Asante and other rulers there maintained large courts of officials. One group of high-ranking attendants at court who participated in ceremonies glorifying the king wore a special gold disk known as a "soul-washer's badge." This badge was taken from the king's bedroom by Lieutenant R.C. Annesley of the 79th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, part of the British military expedition that captured the Asante capital of Kumasi on February 4, 1874.
Artist Asante, African
  • Soul-Washer's Badge
Date no date
Medium Gold
Dimensions Overall: 1/4 × 3 1/2 inches (0.6 × 8.9 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, New Endowment Fund and Friends of African Art Fund
Accession Number 81.701
Department Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
On View African: Fit for a King, Level 1 (see map)
R. C. Annesley;
Lt. R. C. Annesley;
Asantehene Kofi Karikari.
(Alan Brandt, Inc., New York, New York, USA);
1981-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
African Masterworks In The Detroit Institute of Arts. Washington and London: The Detroit Institute of Arts and Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995, cat. no. 22.

Bulletin of the DIA 60, no. 1/2. (1981-82): p. 34 (ill.).

Quarcoopome, Nii. “Akan Leadership and Status Objects,” Bulletin of the DIA 91, no. 1-4 (2017): p. 40 (fig. 2.19).