War Coat or 'Dania'

About this object

The museum register or logbook provides some idea of how many objects were lost on 3 May 1941. The register usually records the object's identification number, a short description and the donor’s or seller’s name. But in some rare cases although the object was destroyed in the fire, its history is retained in the museum register.

In 1900, a ‘“dania” meaning, life-coat’ was recorded in the register. It was given by Arnold Ridyard, an important donor to World Museum on behalf of Dr Edward Joseph Mettle, an herbalist, merchant, and businessman from Accra in Ghana. The dania is described in the register as a protective war coat, with protective charms hanging from it to shield the wearer from harm. This family heirloom of Dr Mettle’s had been passed from his grandfather to his father to him.

The dania was on display in the Africa gallery in the basement of the museum on 3 May 1941. It was not found after the Blitz and is thought to have been destroyed in the fire.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Western Africa: Ghana: Accra
  • Date made
    1826 before
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of E J Mettle through A. Ridyard, 1900
  • Collector
    E J Mettle
  • Place collected
    Africa: Western Africa: Ghana: Accra
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
  • Note
    STOCKBOOK “Dania” meaning life-coat (see type-written particulars from Dr. Mettle). “I have also with pleasure sent you my grandfather’s “Dania” meaning Life-Coat, which he had used in actions during several Wars, particularly the Battle of Katamansu in the year 1826. This Life-Coat is an important link in the great chain of events of the Africans in their past History. It is superstitiously noted that the wearer of it could not be hurt by either bullet, Arrows, Spears, Swords etc. in Battlefield or elsewhere, the traditional views on this subject began to fade away, the unwholesome superstition of the past. The cost of this Life-Coat in Olden Times is a compensation of ten Slaves or ten Peredwans £80.00. It descended to me from my late Father the successor of my Grand-father. Accra. Mettle, Dr. Edward. J. Newhaven, Lutterodt Road, Accra, Gold Coast.
  • Related people
    E J Mettle ( Collector); Arnold Ridyard ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Arnold Ridyard

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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