Geography

The Akan are a group of peoples (Ashanti, Baoulé, Anyi, Attié, etc.) who live in southern Ghana and in the south-east of the Ivory Coast. For a geographical presentation of Ghana, please refer to the Sao section.

The Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa bordering the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. It has a population of 17 million and is a member of the African Union.

Its capital, Yamoussoukro, is situated in the center of the country. Other principal cities are Abidjan and San Pedro, on the Gulf of Guinea, and Bouaké, also in the center.

The population is very young: 48,2% are under the age of 14, and its birth rate is one of the highest in the world.

The official language is French, although the Ivory Coast consists of approximately 60 different ethnic groups (Sénoufo, Bété, Baoulé, Yacouba, Lobi, Gouro, Agni, Mandingue, Attié, Akan, Mossi, Pedro). It is also home to 5 million foreigners, that is to say about a third of its population, a unique situation on the world stage. Particular groups are the Burkinabés (3 million), Ghanaians (500,000), Liberians (100,000), Malians, Guineans, Senegalese, Togolese, Beninese, approximately 20,000 French (of which a third have dual nationality), Germans, Belgians, Americans, Canadians and Lebanese (approximately 100,000). The Akan people of southern Ghana are a group of smaller sub-ethnic groups, from the same part of the south-eastern Ivory Coast. They are considered the greatest creators, and the largest producers of art on the continent of Africa. There is nothing they are not familiar with: refined jewels, goldsmithery, weights to weigh gold, work made in wood (statues, masks, stools, seats, combs, headstocks etc), work in copper, clothes of the finest fabrics, and the most delicate of these arts, the manufacture of funerary terra cotta sculptures.

The Akan consist of several ethnic groups or sub-ethnic groups: Bono, Asante, Aowin, Nzena, Fante, Kwahu, Denkyira, Akwapin, Anyi. The majority of these sub-groups practice a funerary form of commemoration using terra cotta sculptures. Taking into account their differences, whether they be lingusitic, aesthetic or in their customs, the sculptures are singular both in their form and in the treatment of their surfaces, and their degree of ornate naturalism.