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Asoamefoɔ Ne Akɔnkɔn

Asoamefoɔ Ne Akɔnkɔn

Asoamefoɔ Ne akɔnkɔn

Asoamefoɔ

Nana Yaw Daani II, Asoamefoɔhene

There are five different groups of Asoamefoɔ located in Suame (Kumase), Mpasaatia, Donyina, Jachie (Pramso), and Mpasaaso. Akan chiefs were, in the past, carried on the shoulders of his subjects during ceremonies or travels to distance places. Known as akɔnkɔn in Twi, this method of carrying chiefs can still be seen during installations when soon after an individual is finally accepted by all parties, he is smeared with hyire (white clay) or powder and carried on the shoulders with the kete ensemble providing music for the jubilant crowd. Gradually, apakan, a cane basket with intricate weaving, replaced akɔnkɔn and over the years, the former has been improved with the use of durable construction materials and innovative ways to carry a chief. There are basically two types of apakan: kɔnkrɔma also referred to as ɛsrɛmusei (lit., lion of grassland), and etwie (the leopard). Kɔnkrɔma is used primarily for festivals (celebratory occassions) while the etwie is used for funerary rites or in the days of warfare, the king is carried to the war front in the etwie apakan. A third type of palanquin apakankrɔ is used once in the lifetime of a king when a newly enstooled Asantehene is carried in this palanquin to and from the Pampaso ceremony. Compared to Kɔkrɔma and Etwie, Apakankrɔ is smaller and as such only two people carry it. For the Pampaso ceremony, only nsaa cloth is used for decorating apakankrɔ and there are no naamu and atɛ (cushions and pillows). The current apakankrɔ has been in use since the reign of Otumfoɔ Agyemang Prempeh (1888-1931). The nsaa decorative cloth is a heavy blanket. The Asantehene’s Apakanwenefoɔhene (chief of palanquin weavers) and his group of weavers are at Atwima Taabre. Depending on the status of a chief in the political hierarchy or depending on the occasion, either two carriers or maximum of four carry the Asantehene using a complex system of taking breaks or relieving carriers during processions. Several carriers are on hand for any ceremony that will require the apakan. For instance, there are four carriers for the kɔnkrɔma and etwie. To carry the king, two poles with carved human heads known as bampo ti are passed through three loops on each side of the palanquin. The carriers place the poles on kahyrie (pads) their shoulders with two behind and two in front (see picture). The sign for a pause in the procession is initiated by the Asantehene by a tap on the left side of the palanquin with his left hand. This will set in motion a series of events. Two carriers will immediately go under the apakan, one behind and one in front, and they use their backs to keep the palanquin in place in order to relieve all four carriers until the king gives another sign by moving both legs in a predetermined manner. On his part, the king dances to the booming sounds of fɛntɛmfrɛm orchestra while seated in the apakan. All the above events happen fast and seamlessly so that to the outsider, nothing has happened except the king’s dance. When the Asantehene sits in a palanquin, he is canopied under seven state umbrellas (bɛnkyinyɛ) in a special formation while the Kyinyɛkyimfoɔ (umbrella carriers) flutter the umbrellas to the rhythm of fɔntɔmfrɔm or mpintin orchestra.

Asoamefoɔ Ne akɔnkɔn
Asoamefoɔ Ne akɔnkɔn
Asoamefoɔ Ne akɔnkɔn
Asoamefoɔ Ne akɔnkɔn
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