Arts and Crafts are decorative designs and handicraft,basically,Arts is a form of expressing ones emotions and Crafts is also a form of work done to bring tangible result or output and this could be carving,moulding etc.Nowadays,everybody want to buy arts and crafts in Ghana because of it’s quality and Authenticity.It has been a part and parcel of Ghanaians and Africans as a whole from time immemorial,Our forefathers use it to convey messages during important occasions,every arts and crafts has a certain meaning and purpose behind it.Africans regard their arts and crafts more than wealth or other various mineral resources because it defines their culture and traditions.
Arts and Crafts in Ghana are varied and comes with different colors,shapes,textures,patterns etc.These arts and crafts are mostly for spiritual purposes,few are made for decorative purposes.Some of Ghana’s popular Arts and Crafts are made up of gold and diamond jewelries, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, hand woven textiles,beads, brass and bronze works,wood carvings,Ivory carvings and ornaments and many more.All the above mentioned are common and essential to Ghanaian’s in day to day life and on special occasions.
ARTS AND CRAFTS IN GHANA
A Brief History of Kente Cloth
Kente cloth is known to be originated with the Ashanti people of Ghana. It’s usage dates back to 375 years ago and it was first conceived in a village called Bonwire in the Ahsanti Region of Ghana. According to legend and oral tradition,the weaving of the cloth was brought to light by two brothers called Kurugu and Ameyaw,they went hunting one afternoon and came across a spider spinning a web.The way the spider was spinning fascinated them that they thought of trying it out as soon as they return,upon returning they wove the first ever black and white Kente cloth from a Rafia tree.
Kente is also known as Nwenntoma in the Akan dialect and hand woven cloth in English.It is one of Ghana’s popular arts and it is widely used in Ghana and some part of the world,with the exception of our first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah,making it a national cloth,it is also a symbol that represent Ghana during international and national programs,it is used to portray Ghana in sports,entertainment,culture and many more.
In Ghana,Kente is very relevant to our culture and traditions,it is widely used during occasions like outdooring and naming ceremonies,marriages rites,funeral rites and can be worn on special occasions like coronation day,birthday,puberty rites etc.However,Ghana’s Kente can be grouped into two ,that of the Ashanti’s and the Ewe’s of Volta region of Ghana.The most popular places in Ghana to get some quality Kente clothes are the Bonwire in the Ashanti region and in the Volta region but it is available nationwide at any Arts and crafts shops or tourist centers.
According to history,an Adinkra is a name of a king in Gyaman kingdom in what is now Ivory Coast called Nana Kofi Adinkra,He is fond of using the symbols in his everyday life and activities that the Adinkra became his trademark,He was captured by the Ashanti’s and was later killed while his Kingdom was reduced and became part of the Ashanti Empire,later,the Ashanti’s adopted the symbol as a state symbol during special occasions as well as using it to convey special and important messages.
Adinkra symbols are one of the oldest Ghanaian arts and every symbol convey a particular message that is relevance to life.It is used during important occasions and it can also be seen or engraved on houses,cars,advertising/bill boards etc. It is also very common during occasions and special functions such as rite of passages,Coronation of chiefs and more.
In Ghana beads is used in many ways and it also represents and determines ones social status and wealth in society,it is very important among chiefs,traditional priests,priestesses,Clan leaders,elders,wealthy etc,also the type of color,size and the choice of materials all convey a message.The colors also speaks a lot and has a unique meanings,for example the White ones are for purity and virginity,the Blue beads are used to represent tenderness whilst yellow stand for maturity and wealth.Different beads are used to treat illness such as snake bites, and to keep away evil spirits,new born babies mostly has the small white beads as bracelets to represent good luck and purity,it can also be worn around the waist,neck and around the calf.Women also wear it around their waist to give them access bottom(buttocks).
As far back as 300 BC glass beads were imported from Egypt, India the middle east and Europe into Western part of Africa and is purposely used as currency. They were called The Trade beads,it is used in all aspect of trading,normally,the Arab traders brought this glass beads from Venice and Murano .In Africa,glass beads have been crafted in Ghana,Niger and Nigeria since the 17th century.
Beads are also used to indicate life passages or stages in life,especially the Krobo’s of Eastern Ghana use it during Puberty rites to initiates teenage girls or adolescent girls into womanhood,the ceremony is called Dipo and these initiates would be dressed in Kente clothes adorned with beads of all colors and kinds.The Krobo people are the oldest and well known producers of beads because they purely use the methods handed down by their ancestors.It is mainly produced from glass,gold,shells,clay,seeds,bone, ivory,teeth, semi precious stones, amber, coral and silver.
Ceramics has been used by our ancestors from the ancient times,before the usage of silver,rubber, and stainless steel,ceramics had been used domestically to carry water,for eaten etc,in Ghana today,ceramics bowls called earthenware or locally called Yaba,Yaawa or Ayewa is used to serve food in restaurants,chop bars(eateries) etc.
It can also be used as a flower pot,vase,container for treasures and as cooking utensils.Some of the popular ceramics in Ghana are pots and comes in many colors but mostly black and red.
PAINTING AND CARVING
Painting and wood carving can be seen everywhere in Ghana,Ghanaian’s are fascinated in using more than one color in their painting works and most importantly the color of Ghana(flag),that is the Red,Yellow(Gold) and Green.
In Ghana,the easiest way to see funniest,educative and informative paintings are on canoes,in front of shops,cars(buses/taxi’s),saloon,schools and more.In the fishing communities and fishing harbors,one can see brightly colored and carved canoes bearing all sorts of messages,mostly bible verses,adages,proverbs etc
Wood carving is one of the oldest Arts in Ghana and are so unique that,it can be carved into any shape or object of your choice.Carving has been used for so many centuries by our forefathers and it is believed to contain certain spirit or powers,for example the Akuaba doll is believed to be a symbol of fertility and womanhood or motherhood,others also use carved wood to invoke spirits(Voodoo) or use it as their form of a deity.
Today,carved works can be seen everywhere,in hotels,restaurants,pubs,offices etc.It is also very easy to get at any arts and crafts shops in the various tourist centers.
GOLD AND JEWELRY
There is no way you will talk about Ghana without mentioning Gold,because both old and modern Ghana is known for it’s huge gold deposit in the land.Even today gold is a common thing every Ghanaian have seen before since every chief,elder or a leader of a clan wore some to show his power and status.
Gold can be crafted into any shape and object and it is very popular among chiefs and it signifies power,authority and riches to them.It is mostly mould in Adinkra symbols and is used as a bracelet,necklaces,rings,armband,crown,earrings and many more.
Leather is very important material for Africans,leather usage started from the ancient times and it’s still in use today.It is one of the hardest materials that humans have got,mostly,leather is derived from an animal,some of this animals that are crocodiles,snakes,leopard,lion,tiger,cow,horse,goat,sheep and any other animal that humans think the leader could be be beneficial.
Arts and Crafts in Ghana are so important and always in demand,both local and people from other countries likes African Leather works because it is hard,quality and genuine.It is use to make sandals/footwear,stuffing chairs,costumes and other valuable objects.
Basket weaving is no doubt one of the most essential Arts and Crafts in Ghana,it is used in those days to carry heavy loads which silver basin or other plastic basin has been assigning to do today.It is also use for domestic and decorative purposes.
In Ghana basket weaving can be mostly found in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region of Ghana,this Arts showcase typical Bolgatanga arts and it is known around the world,it is handed down to them by their forefathers and still relevant .Baskets have functions and names,they usually come in different shapes and sizes,there are laundry baskets,rectangular-shaped baskets,hats,shower gifts, gardening baskets, picnics baskets, children’s toys,bread and fruit baskets as well as fans.It can also be used on occasions like birthdays,naming ceremonies,harvest and more.This shows why Ghana is one of the culture hub in Africa because there are different shades of culture and traditions and all this cultures comes with their perspective Arts and Crafts.
Arts and Crafts are decorative designs and handicraft,basically,Arts is a form of expressing ones emotions and Crafts is also a form of work done to bring tangible result or output and this could be carving,moulding etc