King's messenger sword

About this object

We know that many objects in Liverpool’s West Africa collections can be traced back to West African donors who collected and gave objects to World Museum.

The Blitz destroyed many more connections that we are only now rediscovering. In 1903, The Hon. John Mensah Sarbah (1864-1910), a Ghanaian lawyer and political leader, presented a “King’s messenger sword” to the museum. Officials sent by a king or chief to deliver messages or conduct diplomatic negotiations carried ceremonial swords, whose handles were made of wood covered with gold leaf, as a sign of royal authority and of their official status.

World Museum had no record of this object in the archives left in tact after the Blitz. But when Curator of Africa collections Zachary travelled to Ghana he found a certificate of thanks from the museum in the Ghanaian archives.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Object
  • Culture
    Akan Fante [Mfantse Fanti]
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Western Africa: Ghana: Cape Coast
  • Date made
    1903 before
  • Materials
    Gold Foil; Wood
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of John Mensah Sarbah through A. Ridyard, 1903
  • Collector
    John Mensah Sarbah
  • Place collected
    Africa: Western Africa: Ghana: Cape Coast
  • Date collected
    1903 before
  • Measurements
  • Note
    STOCKBOOK: King’s messenger sword, the handle coated with gold, it belonged to the late Chief of Seforti, Yaw Antoo. Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
  • Related people
    John Mensah Sarbah ( Collector)
Object view = Humanities
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