Symbolic and Aesthetical Implications of Precious Metals in Ghana: The Perspective of Akan Culture


N. A. Tetteh
Dr. J. Adu-Agyem


Precious metals have a lot of functions in all countries around the world. One of these countries that recognize the significance of precious metals in the world is Ghana. In Ghana the most identified precious metals include gold, silver, copper, aluminium, brass, bronze and to some extent pewter. All these metals have different functions in the Ghanaian culture; some of which connote authority, wealth, position, rank, as well as psychological and emotional feelings. Interestingly enough, precious metals, are used by ethnic groups, Christian, Traditional, Islamic and other religions and even those in government in Ghana. Suffice to say that precious metals have significantly contributed and are still contributing to the way of life in Ghana. This study elicited information on symbols and symbolic signets associated with the use of precious metals, the context in which these metals are used, aesthetic and the religious beliefs associated with the use of these metals in Ghana in order to re-orient their use. Primary data were collected from metalsmithers, cultural activists, lecturers in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Wa Polytechnic as well as elders in our communities above 60 years. Secondary data were gathered from books, journals and the internet. Some works made of precious metals were purposefully sampled and discussed in Ghanaian cultural perspective. The study uncovered what precious metal represents and the beliefs associated with them in Ghana. In conclusion, the study recommended that the native names of these precious metals should be included in the educational materials for teaching and learning in Ghana. A chart on symbolic representation of precious metals with their beliefs in Ghana should be produced by Government and individuals to preserve the Ghanaian culture.