Ashanti’s Gold Stool

  Ghana is a small country in West Africa, maybe few people in the world pay attention to it. Today’s Ghana includes the former Gold Coast colony of Ashanti, the Northern Territory and the former British Mandate of Togo. Ashanti occupies an important position in Ghana’s history. At the end of the 18th century, the ancient Ashanti Kingdom ruled most of the territory of what is now Ghana. In the 19th century, it actively resisted the invasion of British colonists. In Ashanti, the golden stool as its national symbol occupies an extremely important position. It is not only a symbol of King Ashanti (Ashante), but also a bond of national unity. It brought prosperity and caused war, and it still plays an important role in Ashanti today.
  The origin of the golden stool
  In Ghana, the most influential ethnic group is the Akan, and the most well-known among the Akan are the Fanti and Ashanti. There is a legend that the Akan people were originally concentrated in the central part, but then a great famine occurred, and part of them moved to the coastal areas to feed on “fang” (herbs), so they were called “Fanti”; while the other part stayed in the original The land depends on “scattering” (corn) to live, so it is called “ashanti”. Therefore, today the Fanti people are mainly in the western coast. Due to their early contact with Westerners, most of them are well educated and have a high level of knowledge. The Ashanti people are in the middle, among them chiefs occupy an important position, and people’s literacy level is generally not high, and it is on this land that the ancient Ashanti civilization bloomed. Both the Fante and the Ashanti have made their own contribution to Ghana’s independence, and neither can be ignored.
  The chief occupies an important position among the Ashanti people, and as a symbol of the chief’s status, it is a stool that is ordinary in our opinion, but it is a wooden stool plated with gold on the surface, so it is called “golden stool”. “. The origin of the golden stool is directly related to Osay Tutu, the builder of the ancient Ashanti kingdom. Osai Tutu was the nephew of a small native king of ancient Ashanti, King Kwaman. When he was young, he served as a servant (similar to the “hostage” of ancient China) by the powerful king of the neighboring country, King Dunkel. Wang Mei had an affair and fled after being discovered. A few years later, his uncle died in battle. Although most of the chiefs on the Gold Coast were polygamous and had many sons, it was often the nephew, not the son, who inherited his position, so Tutu took it for granted. Ruler of Kwaman. At that time the Ashanti was still a loose alliance, and in order to defeat the neighboring country Dunkra, his top priority was to unite the loose alliance of the Ashantis into a permanent close military alliance. A key role in this process was played by his good friend Annoki, a priest who worshipped Otto, the god of war in the local primitive religion, and was proficient in witchcraft. Following the beliefs and customs of the time, Anoki planted a variety of Kumnini trees in Kwaman, Ju’aben, and Kumau in the small capital of Ashanti, but only one of them was planted in Kwaman. The strain survived, so it was taken as a symbol that Osay Tutu, who lived in Kwaman, was the chosen leader of the gods. Kwaman has since changed his name to Kumasi (meaning “under the Kumnini tree”) and has become the political center of the Ashanti people. This method of obtaining legal dominion is more common in Chinese peasant wars, such as the Chen Sheng Wu Guang uprising. Religion was used to gain legal dominion, which was legal for illiterate commoners, and was followed because of it.
  Having a legitimate right to rule does not seem to be enough. The greatest result and greatest achievement of Anokie’s efforts was the setting up of a golden stool. One Friday, there was a big rally in Kumasi. At this rally, a gilded wooden stool was seen falling from the sky, falling to the ground, and slowly descending on Osay Tutu’s lap, amid the darkness of the sky and the rumbling of thunder, and all this, of course, was The result of Anokie’s efforts. Anoki immediately declared that this stool represented the spirit of the entire Ashanti nation, and that all strength and fearlessness of this nation depended on the safety of this golden stool. To emphasize this point, he asked Osay Tutu and every chief and queen present to cut off a piece of nail and a lock of hair, all mixed in a syrup, and then spread on the golden stool, The rest was drunk as a sacrament wine by the consecrators. Anoki also said to the audience: “The golden stool is your lifeblood… If it is taken or destroyed, the Ashanti will perish.” It has been quite successful in strengthening national consciousness. Since then, Tutu, the owner of the golden stool, has become the sacred leader of the Ashanti people, and Anoki is also regarded as the founder of Ashanti’s laws and customs, and Ashanti has become a symbol of this golden stool. A nation united by a common covenant of deification or religion. That’s how the famous Golden Stool (aka Friday’s Golden Stool) came about. Later, when Tutu defeated his rival Dunkra militarily, Ashanti rose to prosper, and by the 1780s, Ashanti developed into a vast kingdom that ruled much of what is now Ghana.
  Revolt against the Golden Stool Insults In the
  19th century, Britain accelerated its expansion into West Africa, no longer satisfied with the Gold Coast colonies established only on the coast, and began to move rapidly inland. This advance clashed with Ashanti’s interests, and war broke out between the two. According to the statistics of scholars, there have been 8 large-scale wars between the United Kingdom and Ashanti, and there are countless small conflicts in between. The last of the eight wars, the Ashantiwa War in 1900, was directly related to the Golden Stool.
  After the previous Ashanti wars, the Ashantis had lost the majority, so a small British force was stationed in Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti. Instead of recognizing British rule, they hid the golden stool symbolizing national sovereignty and national dignity, but the British were very curious about this golden stool and expected to get it, thus gaining the legal right to rule the Ashantis.
  In December 1899, there was an Ashanti boy who said he was willing to tell the British where the golden stool was hidden. At the beginning of 1900, the British Governor Hodgson decided to go to Kumasi to find it in person. The British Governor who lived on the Gold Coast at the beginning of this century was not a very smart and well-informed person. He declared that “the supreme ruler of this country is the United Kingdom. Queen, the golden stool should belong to her.” He once said: “What should I do to the person who did not give the golden stool to me? Where is the golden stool hidden? Why am I not at this time? How about sitting on the golden stool? I am the representative of the highest power, why don’t you take the opportunity of my visit to Kumasi to bring me the golden stool and let me sit on it? However, you can be sure that although the government He will rule over you with the same unselfishness and steadfastness as if you had handed it over before he has the golden stool in your hands.” As everyone knows, he asked the Ashantis to hand over the golden stool to England. People, but in the eyes of Ashanti, this kind of desecration of sacred objects is quite embarrassing and intolerable. Moreover, no one has ever sat on the golden stool under any circumstances, not even King Ashanti himself on the most solemn occasions, and this ignorant governor wished to sit on it. The golden stool is the soul of all Ashantis, how could they possibly hand it over and let a foreigner sit on it?
  At last the Ashantis could no longer bear it, and the Ashantiwa War broke out (this is quite similar to the National Uprising of 1857 in India, because the East India Company used lard or tallow to lubricate the bullets of the rifles, and violated the the religion of the local people, and this uprising was also led by a local queen). The leader of the uprising, Ya Ashanti, was the mother of Ejisu and the spiritual force that inspired Ashanti. In Ashanti, because the succession to the throne is almost always through the matrilineal line, more powerful than the chief is the chief’s palace or “mother queen”. After the Ashanti War began, it quickly expanded to the entire Ashanti. As the British used advanced weapons and had a large army, the outcome of the war was predictable. Although the Ashantis failed, the Governor still did not get the golden stool he dreamed of, and the keeper of the golden stool buried it in secret underground. Since then, the golden stool has mysteriously disappeared and is no longer known.
  One day in 1921, four Ashantis working for the United Kingdom accidentally dug up a golden stool while building a road. These British-influenced Ashantis peeled off the gold ornaments from the stools, sold them, and gave the stools to the British. This incident caused strong protests from the Ashanti people. The British were much wiser at this time. Although they had been able to see the golden stool, they dared not ask to sit on it. Instead, they allowed the Ashantis to keep their golden stool forever, and arrested the reselling of the golden stool. The criminals who are decorated are handed over to the chiefs of Kumasi to be tried according to the traditional law. Soon, the exiled Ashanti King Plampe was also allowed to return. In 1935, the British officially recognized the golden stool as an inseparable sacred symbol of the Ashanti nation. Relations between the British and the Ashantis have been good since this time. It can be seen that in order to implement the rule of Ashanti, the British had to make concessions in the face of Ashanti’s tradition.
  Golden Stool = Power
  The supreme ruler of Ashanti is Ashanti King Ashantien, who is the owner of the Golden Stool. And there are certain conditions for a person to become an Ashanti: anyone who is an Ashanti must be a complete person, and there must be no moles or deformities on his body. If it is removed in an accident or an operation If a finger is clicked, he has to abdicate immediately.

  The golden stool is sacred and inviolable in the eyes of the Ashanti, and not everyone can touch and look at it. Legend has it that in the past, if anyone saw this stool without permission, even if he saw it accidentally, his eyes would become blind; if he touched it, he would be punished and wiped with his blood. The place. Of course, the stool is not placed on the ground, but on its “seat”, otherwise it is placed on the skin of the elephant, and it has to be covered with an umbrella, as if it were a human being. In fact, in the eyes of the Ashanti people, the golden stool is a person, a person more important than its king. Usually, the golden stool is kept in a secret place by Ashanti. Only when Ashanti holds a public ceremony, this stool is brought out to be the leader, and it is always tilted slightly to prevent ghosts from squatting on it.
  When a hospital was to be built in Ashanti in the mid-20th century, it was stopped because the house on one side of the hospital was too close to a tree. This tree is not an ordinary tree. The place where the tree grows is where the golden stool fell from the sky, so this tree is considered a sacred and inviolable monument. The Ashantis say that it is no easier for you to ask an Ashanti to climb up and cut off dead branches than to ask him to cut his own throat.
  In Ashanti, the golden stool is a symbol of the king’s power. Once the king’s throne is lost, the golden stool is transferred to the next successor. In addition to the king’s golden stool, every important chief also had a stool equivalent to a throne as a symbol of his exalted position. A stool is a low wooden stool with protruding short wings. After they were elected, and then awarded the stool, they became legitimate chiefs. The chiefs of the Gold Coast were and are by no means despotic monarchs, only a few chiefs practice tyranny. If they were tyrannical, their rule would not last and their throne would be removed. The term “stool” and its escaping are used in many ways in people’s language. The chief’s property is called “stool land”, and if there is a dispute over the succession of the chief’s position, those who claim the inheritance are called “stool contenders”. The chief is said to have “sit on the stool” when he has gained the throne, and “loses the stool” if he is deposed. Instances of losing stools are usually more frequent than most people think, especially since the days of British rule in Ashanti, where chiefs have always been in a dilemma, trying to curry favor with British rulers in the hope of getting more from them power, yet this was the immediate cause of the people’s hatred of them, and even demanded their deposed chieftainship. The more permission the chief received from the British to exercise his power, the more the people despised him and opposed his power. Although the British almost never participated in the direct dethronement of chiefs, there were countless chiefs, large and small, who were deposed during British rule.
  Although the British had completely ruled Ashanti in the first half of the 20th century, they rarely dealt with local affairs, handing them over to chiefs to implement an indirect rule. They think they have no influence on the traditional politics of Africans, but they do not know that no direct intervention is not without influence. This problem can be seen from the dethronement of chiefs. The democratic factor in traditional African politics is gradually weakening. Chiefs The power of the people was originally conferred by the people, but during the colonial period it was conferred by the British colonial government, so the frequency of the transfer of the golden stool became more and more frequent due to the dethronement of the chieftain.

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