English bronzer ewer

Contributed by Leeds Museums and Galleries

English lidded jug taken from the Asante by the Prince of Wales own Regiment of Yorkshire. © Leeds Museums & Galleries

One of three bronze English jugs owned by the Asante court and taken from them by British regimentsIt is so amazing that this 14th century English jug was rediscovered at the Asante court by officers from the Prince of Wales Own Regiment, who took it as booty in the Asante British war of 1896. It is one of three similar jugs preserved as sacred vessels by the Asante. The one now in the British Museum has Richard II's white hart symbol on it, suggesting a date of 1390-1399. We do not know how this jug came to be in Ghana, but we can guess that it was traded over long distances as a stunning piece of bronze work, either as a diplomatic gift or as war booty. Maybe it went all the way from England to the Crusades, and then along the coast of North Africa, before crossing the Sahara to one of the ancient sub-saharan African kingdoms, and then later down to the Akan kingdom of the Asante.

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