The Sacred Stools of the Akan, by Archbishop Emeritus of Kumasi (Ghana), Most Reverend Peter Akwasi Sarpong gives insight in the history, ritual usage as well as symbolism and design of the Ashanti stools. The eBook is illustrated with 55 drawings and photographs.
Among most of the peoples of the world, death does not end a person's membership in a society. Respect for the dead, therefore, is a sort of religion which is found among all peoples, and in all grades of culture. Peoples of different tongues, races, colour, traditions and times, have practised it and are still practising it. The Edo of Nigeria believe that their normal dead will go to their heaven and from there can send blessings to the survivors, and finally return. Hence their prayer to them: "My father, tell Osa to give you things when you are coming back." The Samoans, scattered on a group of islands in the Pacific, suppose that the spirits of their chiefs are nearer than those of common people, and so consult them on all important occasions. The aborigines of Australia today, worship their mythical leaders. For the Zulu of South Africa, the most worshipped ancestor is the last person of importance to die; they begin and end their prayers with his name. This is the prayer of the Malabar of India at feast at the beginning of the agricultural year: "May the gods on high, and the deceased ancestors, bless the seed."
The ancient Romans practised the cult of the parentum, the worship of all the dead of a particular line. And citizens of civilized Greece were proud to describe themselves as sons or descendants of a hero, and worshipped their founder above all their ancestors. The Chinese, and the Japanese are the best known examples of ancestor-worshippers.
But neither the Edo nor the Samoan, nor the Zulu, nor the Arunta, nor the Malabar, nor the Chinese, nor the Japanese, communicate with their ancestors through the medium of stools. Neither did the Romans and the Greeks. The veneration of stools is a special peculiarity of the Akan people of Ghana. In the following chapters we are going to discuss the Akan Stool, its significance and the role it plays in ancestral worship.
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