Suzanne Preston Blier, Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
Among the more noteworthy objects brought back by British troops after their 1896 sack of Kumasi, the capital of the Asante (in modern Ghana), are two English works: a Richard II bronze ewer (pitcher, jug) dated to 1390–99 and a silver punch bowl bearing a 1764 London hallmark. This lecture will explore the nearly six centuries of exchange, influence, and cross-currency between these important centers. West African Gold Coast traditions also have had an impact on English court and culture throughout this long period. Both works came to figure prominently in Asante court ritual and regalia and provide insight into larger global events in these and other eras.