Contributed by Anna Craven

This pendant represents a catfish, a species found in many West African rivers; the face/head is decorated with stamped concentric circles. It was made by the cire perdue ('lost wax') method of casting metal, possibly from melted down Maria Theresa dollars or thalers, coinage once used widely, not just in West Africa, dating from the 18th century. Such pendants, the underside of which are hollow, hanging on locally made 'chains' of large double links, were a sign of the wearer's wealth but are no longer in fashion. Some of the pendants were of crocodile heads.

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Northern Region, Ghana (Gonja)


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