European descriptions of the art and architecture of early Accra ca. 1450-1800

  • KA Labi Institute of African Studies


The fifteenth to nineteenth centuries produced some interesting art works in the coastal areas occupied by the Ga people. The Ga despite their occupation of the low lying Plains of Accra displayed skills in utilising the available clay in establishing themselves as a major producer of pottery. Contrary to their inland neighbours, the Akans, who had more variety of natural resources, and a political structure which encouraged the production and use of art, the presence of European trading nations created new dynamics for architectural innovation, art and craft production, and acquisition of new skills by Ga craftsmen and women. This influenced and affected social life and its accompanying culture. The coastal lands became a strategic market place for trade in both European goods and local wares and products, and the Ga actively engaged in this by selling works such as pottery which they were noted for producing. The history of the Ga has therefore not only been determined by their natural environment and political structure but also by their contacts with other cultures in combination with their own local skills and willingness to adapt to change.

Institute of African Studies: Research Review Volume Research Review Supplement 17 2006: pp. 121-136

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