Bowl (kuduo), Asante, Offin River, Ghana, 16th/18th(?) century. Brass, 15 x 32 cm. British Museum, London, Af1955,05.225. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license

This bowl was discovered in 1909 while dredging for gold along the banks of the Offin River in southern Ghana. Its formal similarity to the 14th- and 15th-century Mamluk brass bowls and basins manufactured thousands of miles away in Egypt provides compelling evidence that it was inspired by the northeastern African imports. Its profile and surface decoration are almost identical to Mamluk period Arabic-inscribed bowls, but details such as the use of “pseudo script”— an attempt by an artist unfamiliar with Arabic to capture the formal essence of Arabic calligraphy— and the representation of stylized crocodiles and mudfish, inhabitants of the Akan forest, in two of the eight medallions reveal that it is of local manufacture.