The Asante Heritage, The Traditional Buildings And More About.

One of the Asante people’s only surviving traditional buildings is located in Ghana, which is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites (WHS).

Nowadays, they are unique in design and construction, consisting of a thatched roof made of leavesheaves and a timber frame filled with clay. Although all of the designated locations are shrines, numerous other buildings in the same architectural style have previously existed. They have fared best in the villages, away from modern warfare and construction.

There are a number of buildings in the Asante region around Kumasi in the middle of Ghana. The great Ashanti Empire had its capital in Kumasi in the past. Four rooms surround a quadrangular courtyard in the buildings.

The fourth room, the actual shrine, is only accessible to the priest and his assistants, while the other three are open for cooking, drumming, and singing. Fetish objects typically line the inner courtyards. The place of worship is home to ‘Obosomfie’ (festish house), the religious house of a god, who shows itself through a festish priest. But, priests still work in some of the enlisted buildings, but not all of them.

Traditionally, the buildings have steep thatched roofs. Orange/red paint is on their lower walls, while whitewashing is on their upper walls. Symbolic murals, like those on the adinkra cloth, can be found on the walls.

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The Asante culture is an old culture, containing numerous secretive components whose starting points remain black. The Asante Traditional Buildings are one of these elements. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, visitors to the Asante Kingdom, particularly Europeans, were drawn to their intricate designs and decorations. They were particularly impressed by the extensive wall decoration and clean, comfortable houses.

These structures were mostly used as palaces, shrines, homes for powerful deities who protected the Kingdom, homes for the wealthy, and mausoleums at the end of their lifespans. In addition, like all valuable structures, the structures were the product of the Asantes’ desire to coexist peacefully on Earth with their creator, the Supreme Being, through the assistance of the lesser deities.

Whether built for humans or deities, the typical house consists of four rectangular single-room structures arranged around an open courtyard; Splayed screen walls connect the inner corners of adjacent buildings. The sides and angles of these walls can be changed to accommodate any error in the initial layout.

Regularly, three of the structures are totally open to the patio, while the fourth is to some degree encased, either by doors and windows, or by open-work screens flanking an opening.

The most striking feature of the buildings is their elaborate mural decorations. The upper walls are covered with interlacing geometrical designs, while the lower parts are boldly modelled bas-relief with a large variety of designs in red clay polished to a dull shine. The designs are frequently abstract or arabesque. Images of reptiles and other creatures like crocodiles, fish and birds also abound, amidst a profusion of plants.

It is important to note that these pictures weren’t just for decoration. They had emblematic implications, and individuals who lived among them knew how to flawlessly read and grasp them. These images, like the wood carvings, sculptures, and symbols of the Akan Adinkra, typically make reference to Akan proverbs that represent the moral and social values of society.

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The Asantes, who are part of the Akan ethnic group and speak the Akan language, are known for using nonverbal communication a lot. Indeed, symbols can be used to express almost any Asante activity. The Sankofa bird standing with its head turned in the opposite direction is one of the most common decorations on Asante traditional buildings. It serves as a reminder that the past must serve as a guide for the future.

Sadly, the majority of Asante indigenous architecture’s masterpieces have been lost to the world, some as a result of war, particularly during the 19th century, when the British used cannons to destroy most of the buildings.

However, the irresistible socio-cultural and economic change of the 20th century, such as the phenomenal prosperity brought about by the gold and cocoa trade and its attendant “modern life,” was the real factor that led to the loss of the Asante heritage’s treasures. Houses made of “sandcrete” blocks and corrugated aluminum took the place of “mud” ones as a result.

The influx of Christians and Muslims was another factor, to the detriment of these buildings, some of which served as traditional religion shrines. Last but not least, the Asante Traditional Buildings were also damaged by the humid tropical rainforest, which has always been a threat to the earthen walls, wattle-daub roofs, and palm-thatched roofs.

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