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Pendant (Cow Head)

A work made of gold.

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  • A work made of gold.


Late 19th/mid–20th century


Baule or Lagoons peoples
Côte d’Ivoire
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Among the diverse kinds of gold jewelry featured in Akan chiefly dress are pendants of different sizes and shapes, including human, animal, and abstract designs. Today these objects, cast by the lost-wax technique, are no longer a royal prerogative. They have been documented in the ornamentation of young women undergoing puberty rites and in the possession of persons of wealth and high status. Their current broad geographical distribution also suggests the influence of twentieth century globalism. Indeed, gold pendants are no longer being manufactured exclusively for use in Africa but are made for sale in tourist shops and galleries, and for export. The motif depicted here–a bush-cow’s head–is a traditional Akan icon of power. This pendant originates from the Lagoon region of present-day Côte d’Ivoire. It exemplifies the fine technical skill, style, and imagery typical of that area of the rain forest. [See also 1991.390 and 1991.391].

–Revised from Nii Otokunor Quarcoopome, “Art of the Akan,” African Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Studies, vol. 23, no. 2 (1997), pp. 135-147.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa




Pendant (Cow Head)


Côte d'Ivoire






8.5 × 6.4 × 2.5 cm (3 3/8 × 2 1/2 × 1 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Grace Hokin

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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