Colonial Asafo Fante Flag
Along the coastal region of Ghana, otherwise known as the Fante region, 24 independent states are ruled by chiefs and elders. Since the earliest days of Ghana's colonial period these sovereign tribes have governed and protected their interests and their people through a sophisticated community of Asafo 'companies'. The Asafo company is essentially a military unit of warring men who protect their respective village from the Ashanti kingdom and other adversaries. The Asafo Flag tradition was adopted during Ghana's colonial period and it continues to play an important role in Fante communities today. While belonging to the company and it's members, each flag is the unique artistic design and creation of the company captain. The flags are flown during special social occasions, path clearing festivals, the inauguration of a new shrine and often times, as a means of provoking the enemy. The graphics often include metaphors for power, invincibility, bravery, slavery, religion and strength. The inclusion of the British Union Jack, which is represented on the upper left corner of the flag offered here, dates this flag to Ghana's colonial period. Ghana won independence in 1957 and with the change of the guard came the change to the flag. The red, white and blue British Union Jack was superseded by the national flag of Ghana. While helpful, the Union Jack dating method is not foolproof. As with many pieces in today's market place, clever forgers create clever forgeries, including Asafo flags bearing the British Union Jack.
First quarter of the 20th century, circa 1930's / 1940's. Ghana. Colored cotton appliqué sewn onto a cotton panel. Professionally backed, stretched and mounted.
Dimensions: 56 inches horizontal 41 inches vertical x 2 inches deep.