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Ghanian Brass Craftsmen

Brass Craftsmen in Kurofufrum, Ghana

Craftsman in Ghana today still use a type of lost wax casting which dates back to the 7th century AD. This is a very time consuming art and the process is actually quite primitive. We were in awe as we witnessed the brass craftsmen at work. Below are some photos taken in the village of Kurofufrum, which is located in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Starting with a large chunk of beeswax and old discarded brass keys, the skilled hands of these craftsmen produce many works of art including; beads, figurines and amulets of all types. As one might imagine symbolism is deeply rooted in many of these small creations.
The wax is melted in a large pot of simmering water, heated by a smoldering log. Using the softened wax each item (mold) is formed completely by hand. The only tool used is a small metal poker, kept hot by the same smoldering log. Because each piece is made by hand, no two are ever identical. The wax mold is then covered with many layers of a soupy mud slurry. Once dry it is covered again with a mixture of mud and coconut fiber. This same mixture forms a small bowl into which the old keys and pieces of brass are placed. This is then fastened to the mold with yet another layer of mud and fiber. Crude, wood fired, earthen kilns heat the brass to the melting point. This molten brass replaces the wax mold.
See our complete selection of African metal beads here.
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