Culture, Art and Architecture
Ghana's visual art forms, including gold jewelry, woodcarvings, and weaving, were associated traditionally with the royal courts of different ethnic groups. Although the works of artisans continue to serve their traditional functions, they are now also created for the tourist industry. Gold, mined for centuries in Ghana, is worked into weighty pieces of jewelry that traditionally only adorned the Akan king and nobility. The Ashanti people are known for their carved wooden stools, which customarily served domestic and sacred roles. The Golden Stool, the symbol of the Ashanti nation, is the most sacred stool of all. In the second half of the 20th century, the Ga people developed a tradition of building carved and brightly decorated coffins, shaped like animals or objects that celebrate the deceased. Ghanaian weavers produce many different styles of cloth, but the most well-known fabric produced in Ghana is Kente cloth. This distinctive style was traditionally made by weavers of the Ashanti court, using European silk acquired through trans-Saharan and, later, coastal trade.
There are two main types of indigenous Ghanaian building styles. Traditional round huts with grass roofing are found in the northern regions. In the south, several adjoining buildings surround a communal compound in the middle of an enclosure. In recent years, however, single-family structures have become more popular, especially in the urban centers.