Mar 19, 2015
Jewelry and Personal Adornment
JEWELRY AND PERSONAL ADORNMENT
Hair styling and wearing jewelry is unique enough and that has been succeeded by several generations in the long history of Ghana. Men and women spend time grooming their hair. Hair styles depict social status, age and political position. Not a few are used in special events, and the rest is used in everyday life. All this is indicative of a larger cultural and historical landscape. Hair style in Ghana is an art with a high enough creativity to design a complex, unusual and rich expression. Some coiffures are mere flights of fancy, like a butterfly or flower. Others involve intricate woven styles and designs inherited over the centuries.
One particular hair style is the cornrow. Cornrow hairstyles in Ghana also cover a wide social terrain: religion, kinship, status, age, ethnicity, and other attributes of identity can all be expressed in hairstyle. Just as important is the act of braiding, which transmits cultural values between generations, expresses bonds between friends, and establishes the role of professional practitioner.
The jewelry of the Ghanaian is not just ornamental; rituals and religion play a major part in the adornment of jewelry. Each piece is represented and worn for a particular reason, ranging from aesthetics to identifying marks of a society or group as well as social beliefs. The royal regalia are made up of many kinds of jewelry. Individuals and families own all kinds of jewelry for personal use and adornment.
Jewelry (agudee in Akan) has dressed the Ghanaian for centuries. Big silver bangles, glimmering beads, gleaming gold and pure pearls have historically fascinated the traveler to the Gold Coast. European traders and travelers in the 15th were surprised to discover affluent and sophisticated kingdoms in the area that came to be known as Gold Coast where the elevated status of kings and the royalty was reflected in their jewelry. Today, these materials and their traditional symbolism remain esteemed. The royal court patronized skilled craftspeople, casters and smiths, who were treated with the greatest respect and encouraged to work with creativity and the utmost attention to detail. Craftspeople, using their natural resources, excelled in jeweler's art. Habitual creations saw earrings, necklaces, chains, pendants, bangles, bracelets and rings, and jewel boxes.
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