Pendant in the Form of a Face with an Openwork Crescent at the Crown



Pendant in the Form of a Face with an Openwork Crescent at the Crown


early-mid 20th Century


Kyaman, Adiukru, Akye, and other Lagoons groups


Gold, silver
3 3/8 x 3 3/8 x 7/8 in. (8.6 x 8.6 x 2.2 cm)

Object Number



The big men or "kings" of the various cultures of the Lagoons region of coastal Côte d'Ivoire have, since at the least the 17th century, displayed their wealth in the form of gold pendant ornaments and figurines made using the lost-wax casting method. Gold pieces were accumulated by families, with additions made by aspiring social climbers who, as the Ebrie say, "add to the family chest". Recognition of wealth through annual public "exhibitions of gold" is required for those wishing to become an age-grade official or village head. The objects are either laid out on a table for inspection or strung together and worn around the neck or in the hair of men and their female family members.
The imagery on the pieces reminds the viewer of the supernatural qualities assigned to gold; the faces of the ancestors, whose spiritual powers protect the big man's treasure are often depicted. Crescent-shaped pendants evoke ram's horns, a symbol of strength, here paired with the bearded face of a big man.

Credit Line

Museum purchase


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2008 - December 1, 2014


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
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On View



“Pendant in the Form of a Face with an Openwork Crescent at the Crown,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed March 21, 2018,

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