Leadership art at Bekwai

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This thesis shows the study of regalia of Bekwai with the view to: (a) identifying and describing some of the important artifacts; (b) examine their socio-political functions, importance, significance and influence on Bekwai citizens and their culture; and (c) investigating the changes and development that have occurred in the regalia and whether there has been an introduction of foreign elements into the artifacts or not. To realise these aims, and for the success of the entire work, the thesis is organised into five chapters, excluding the preface and other preambles. The first chapter is mainly devoted to the ethnographic study of Bekwai. The next three identify and describe the regalia, show their significance and consider their aesthetic quality and the socio-poliitical functions of the artifacts, while the last chapter concerns discussion designed to show the importance and influence of the regalia, some findings, suggestions, recommendations and a conclusion. The research reveals that the paramount regalia include stools, state swords, palanquins, linguist staffs, necklaces, bracelets, rings and footwear. The insignia are central to the Bekwai culture, and while some of them foster unity, proclaim the grandeur of the chief and influence socio-political gatherings, others lend credence and authority to the messages of the envoys and linguists for example linguist staffs and courier swords. As noticed in the actual text, the foundation of Bekwai is associated with a legendary snake which is symbolished and added to the regalia. Moreover, the ancestors are represented by black stools which allegedly assist the people to contact these spirits for supernatural assistance. The thesis further shows that the regalia are aesthetically pleasing. The artifacts are marked by stylistic variations and developments, an introduction of foreign materials into the fabrication and by gifts from Britain. It is however hoped that this thesis, will be beneficial to the people of Bekwai and of Ghana as a whole.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in African Art, 1989