1935.56.12 .1 1935.56.12 .2 1935.56.12 .3 1935.56.12 .4 1935.56.12 .5

Treasure box of sheet brass with repoussé decoration, mounted on a 4-wheeled stand resembling a carriage. [ZM 31/10/2014]

Place details: AFRICA. Ghana / Cultural Group: Akan Asante: Local Name: forowa Materials: Brass Metal? / Wood Plant / Copper Alloy Metal / Copper Metal / ?. Processes: Repoussé / Hammered / Carved / Riveted / Decorated / Stamped / ?. Dimensions: H = 343 mm W = 300 mm D = 200 mm Field Collector: F.W. Ensor When Collected: By 1903 Other Owners: F.W. Ensor; Violet Ensor PRM Source: Violet Ensor Acquired: Purchased February 1935

KEYWORD: Box / Inscription / Figure / Animal Figure / Bird Figure / CLASS: Box / Writing / Figure / ?.

Object description: Treasure box [.1] of sheet brass with two sections that open, a lid at the top and a door in the lower part that opens to reveal a removable sheet brass drawer [.2] both are fastened with wooden pegs [.3 - .4], which push through brass loops that are attached to the box with copper rivets. Mounted on a 4-wheeled stand [.5], so it looks like a carriage. The surface is decorated with repoussé including figures, hearts, birds, mammals, insects and geometric designs. The box is made from brass sheets and held together with copper rivets, or rolled edges. A small wedge shape has been cut into the side of the front to allow the drawer [.2] to be pulled in and out. It is supported inside the box with two runners made of sheet metal. It does not fit flush into the box, therefore the door does not close properly. The door is also made from decorated sheet brass with a hinge riveted onto the box with brass rivets. The hinge is made from a small piece of plain brass and a folded over section of the repoussé decorated brass door. [SM (Verve) 17/11/2014]

Publications history, trails & websites: A colour image was published on page 43 of in West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song, (2015, London: British Library) editted by Gus Casely-Hayford, Janet Topp Fargion and Marion Wallace, which accompanied the British Library exhibition West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song, which ran from 16 October 2015 - 16 February 2016. The accompanying caption reads 'This sheet-brass box or forowa from northern Ghana is a rare rectangular version of a container often used for shea butter, but also for valuables including gold dust and cowrie shells. It is richly decorated with symbolic designs, including a stool, symbolic of kingship, and a spider, probably a representation of Anansi, the trickster character of West African and Caribbean stories. Ghana. Collected c. 1900. Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.' [MOBB 9/11/2018]

Research notes: Other Ensor items have been collected circa 1900 [AP 10/8/2000]

According to outgoing passenger lists leaving the UK 1890-1960, F W Ensor sailed from Liverpool to Accra in Ghana three times from 1900 to 1903 (on ships 'Fantee', 'Biafra' and 'Burutu' respectively). See National Archives online. [HA 09/04/2015]