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  • Anyi - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    artistic expression is focused on creating these types of memorials for it is believed that the more beautiful the monument the greater the respect for the deceased History The rise of the early Akan centralized states began in the 13th century and may be related to the opening of trade routes established to move gold throughout the region The Anyi people are a subgroup of the Akan who migrated to their current location from what is present day Ghana between the 16th and 18th centuries They were never as powerful as the Asante and Baule and as a result were indirectly under their rule during the height of both empires Economy Anyi agricultural economy revolves around banana and taro production Yams are also an important staple crop in the region Many locally grown crops were introduced from the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade These include maize manioc peppers peanuts tomatoes squash and sweet potatoes They also raise farm animals including sheep goats chickens and dogs Markets which are primarily run by women take place every four days and are the center of the local economy Local produce and craft items are sold alongside imported goods from all over the world Palm oil is also sold as a commodity on the international market Political Systems The Anyi live in loose neighborhoods of family housing complexes which are generally spread apart There is usually a local headman who is directed by a council of elders and who represents his constituency in regional politics Like other Akan peoples the Anyi have a highly stratified society that includes a hierarchical political administration with titled officials who proudly display their rank and power The Anyi are a matrilineal people and women have relatively high social status exhibited in both the political and economic arenas

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Anyi (2016-02-13)
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  • Aowin - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    of the 17th century however that the grand Asante Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana when several small states united under the Chief of Kumasi in a move to achieve political freedom from the Denkyira The Asante confederacy was dissolved by the British in 1900 and colonized in 1901 Although there is no longer a centralized Akan confederacy Akan peoples maintain a powerful political and economic presence Economy Early Akan economics revolved primarily around the trade of gold and enslaved peoples to Mande and Hausa traders within Africa and later to Europeans along the coast This trade was dominated by the Asante who received firearms in return for their role as middlemen in the slave trade These were used to increase their already dominant power Local agriculture includes cocoa cultivation for export while yams and taro serve as the main staples Along the coast fishing is very important The depleted forests provide little opportunity for hunting Extensive markets are run primarily by women who maintain considerable economic power while men engage in fishing hunting and clearing land Both sexes participate in agricultural endeavors Political Systems Royal membership among Akan is determined through connection to the land Anyone who traces descendency from a founding member of a village or town may be considered royal Each family is responsible for maintaining political and social order within its confines In the past there was a hierarchy of leadership that extended beyond the family first to the village headman then to a territorial chief then to the paramount chief of each division within the Asante confederacy The highest level of power is reserved for the Asanthene who inherited his position along matrilineal lines The Asantahene still plays an important role in Ghana today symbolically linking the past with current Ghanaian politics

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Aowin (2016-02-13)
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  • Asante - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    of trade routes established to move gold throughout the region It was not until the end of the 17th century however that the grand Asante Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana when several small states united under the Chief of Kumasi in a move to achieve political freedom from the Denkyira It is said that the Golden Stool of the Asante descended from heaven to rest on the knees of Osei Tutu the first Ashantehene who was guided by his adviser the priest Okomfe Anokye The Golden Stool became the focal point of the creation of the Akan confederacy of which the most important people were the Asante The Asante dominated Ghana for the next 200 years and are still a dominant political force today Economy The early Asante economy depended on the trade of gold and enslaved peoples to Mande and Hausa traders as well as to Europeans along the coast In return for acting as the middlemen in the slave trade the Asante received firearms which were used to increase their already dominant power and various luxury goods that were incorporated into Asante symbols of status and political office The forest surrounding the Asante served as an important source of kola nuts which were sought after for gifts and used as a mild stimulant among the Muslim peoples to the north Political Systems The Asante developed a highly centralized semi military government with a paramount chief known as the Asantahene The Asantahene who inherited his position along matrilineal lines had numerous chiefs below him throughout the kingdom who acted on his behalf He also had many counselors with whom he conferred before making decisions The Asantahene still plays an important role in Ghana today symbolically linking the past with current Ghanaian politics Religion The spiritual

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Asante (2016-02-13)
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  • Babanki - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    and migrated in various complex patterns throughout the last several centuries Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon in the 17th century forced the Babanki s southern drift Many smaller ethnic groups combined while other factions split away as a result of pressure from the invading Fulani During the late 18th century many Fulani converted to Islam and their expansionist policies grew as a result of religious zeal They successfully converted many Babanki to Islam Economy The region is astride important regional trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala in the south and with Fulani and Hausa traders in the north The Babanki are historically farmers who grow maize yams and peanuts as staple crops They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily sustenance Women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting the crops Men are responsible for clearing the fields for planting and practice some nominal hunting Political Systems The Babanki like all of the peoples who make up the Cameroon Grasslands culture area pay allegiance to the Fon head chief Each village is governed by a leader who is selected by his predecessor and who is usually the head of the dominant lineage within that community Each Fon is served by a council of elders who advise him on all important decisions and who also play an important role in the selection of the next Fon Most chiefs serve for a lifetime abdicating the throne or stool only when nearing death Complex age grade societies also help to structure the community The Fon also oversees these secret societies Religion The Babanki reserve the highest allegiance for their lineage ancestors Ancestral spirits are embodied in the skulls of the

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Babanki (2016-02-13)
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  • Baga - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    carved anthropomorphic figures are placed on shrines The ancestors are represented in figures that embody both human and animal characteristics Geographically the Baga belong to the coast yet their art is more stylistically akin to that found in the Western Sudan region History The Baga have lived in their current location since the 14th century They migrated to this area from the interior highlands in upper Niger accompanied by several other peoples who share linguistic similarities including the Landuma Tyapi and Temne peoples From the 14th to the early 20th century they were repeatedly invaded by the Nalu Susu Djalonke Maninka and the Fulbe among others In the late 19th century French domination led to colonization Since independence many Baga peoples have abandoned some of their traditional ways in favor of Guinean nationalism Economy The Baga are farmers who primarily cultivate swamp varieties of rice in wet paddies along the coast Cotton gourds millet oil palms okra sesame and sorghum are locally grown products that help to round out the Baga diet Despite all of the hard work of farmers crops still occasionally fail The Baga believe that it is possible to encourage abundance by placing benevolent spirits embodied in carved wooden figures in specially constructed thatch huts located between the village and the bush Coastal fishing also plays an important role in the local economy Political Systems The Baga were traditionally governed through the initiation society commonly known to Westerners by the Susu term simo which merely means sacred Political power is invested in leaders who derive their power through their relationship to the ancestors traced through the matrilineal line Having a direct connection to the ancestors buried in the land entitles the leader to control the distribution of that land The leader of each community is attended by

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Baga (2016-02-13)
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  • Bali - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    migrated in various complex patterns throughout the last several centuries Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon in the 17th century forced the Bali s southern drift Many smaller ethnic groups combined while other factions split away as a result of pressure from the invading Fulani During the late 18th century many Fulani converted to Islam and their expansionist policies grew as a result of religious zeal They successfully converted many Bali to Islam Economy The region is astride important regional trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala in the south and with Fulani and Hausa traders in the north The Bali are historically farmers who grow maize yams and peanuts as staple crops They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily sustenance Women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting the crops Men are responsible for clearing the fields for planting and practice some nominal hunting Political Systems The Bali like all of the peoples who make up the Cameroon Grasslands culture area pay allegiance to the Fon head chief Each village is governed by a leader who is selected by his predecessor and who is usually the head of the dominant lineage within that community Each Fon is served by a council of elders who advise him on all important decisions and who also play an important role in the selection of the next Fon Most chiefs serve for a lifetime abdicating the throne or stool only when nearing death Complex age grade societies also help to structure the community The Fon also oversees these secret societies Religion The Bali reserve the highest allegiance for their lineage ancestors Ancestral spirits are embodied in the skulls of the deceased

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bali (2016-02-13)
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  • Bamana - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    19th century At this time religious wars broke out throughout the region setting Islamized societies against those who preferred to embrace traditional Bamana views A dichotomy between traditional and Islamic views still exists today in Mali and one may expect to encounter representations of both cultures existing side by side and quite often in syncretic combinations Economy Those members of Bamana society who still live in rural villages continue to rely on subsistence farming as the most common means of livelihood As is true in most of Africa hunting is an important way to supplement the diet There are also numerous crafts people who trade their wares in the local market Potters weavers sculptors and leather workers are extensively trained in their respective art for up to eight years They supply the community with objects required for daily living and also carry their work to urban centers where they can be sold for a small profit Political Systems The Bamana are a patrilineal and patrilocal society with extended families that range from 100 to 1000 members acting as the basic governing unit These are then organized into villages with a chief at the head whose position is determined by kinship ties within the community Six major initiation societies contribute to the social control of the people of the community through education The political hierarchy of family heads and village chiefs is directly connected to the positions of individuals within the initiation groups As such those who control the politics of the community simultaneously control the religious structure Religion The religion of the Bamana is directly related to the jow initiation societies As an initiate moves through the six societies he or she is taught vital issues concerning societal concepts of the moral conduct of life which contribute to the overall

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bamana (2016-02-13)
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  • Bamileke - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    as Mbam which is today occupied by the Tikar Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon in the 17th century forced the southern drift of most of the Bamileke although some elected to stay behind and live under the control of the invaders They traveled through the area now occupied by the Bamum where many Bamileke remained and intermarried Eventually the majority settled in scattered villages to the south of Bamum territory Economy The Bamileke are primarily farmers growing maize yams and peanuts as staple crops They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily sustenance Women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting of the crops Men usually help with the clearing of the land and practice some hunting Throughout history the peoples of the Grasslands were part of extensive trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala and through trans Saharan traders including the Fulani and Hausa to the north European histories mention trading at Douala between Cameroon Grasslanders and Dutch and Portuguese traders in the early 17th century Political Systems Authority among the Bamileke as is the case in most of the western Grasslands is invested in a village chief who is supported by a council of elders and is called Fon The Fon is elected to his position by his predecessor s council and is often an elder member of the most powerful extended family within the community The chief is recognized as the de facto owner of all the land that belongs to a given village and is seen as the dispenser of supreme justice Social behavior within the village is further controlled through a series of extensive age grade associations and secret societies both of which

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/Bamileke (2016-02-13)
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