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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Ashanti or South Akan tribe

Cap (krobonkye) nineteenth century

RCIN 62904

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Caps of this kind were worn by Ashanti state sword-bearers and other officials on important occasions. The main gold strips are in the form of a crocodile – a symbol of adaptability, since the animal is admired for its ability to live in water, yet breathe air.

The cap was almost certainly seized by British troops during the Anglo-Ashanti War of 1873–74. Sir Garnet Wolseley's forces looted the palace of the defeated Asantehene, King Kofi Karikari, King of the Ashanti (c.1837–1884), at Kumasi, and removed numerous gold items and textiles. Some of these objects were sold at a public auction in Cape Coast prior to the troops' return to England; others were bought by Garrard & Co. in London for £11,000 and sold by them in the spring of 1874.
It is not known exactly how this piece entered the Royal Collection; it was first recorded at Windsor Castle in 1866.