Ga Coffins from Teshi, Ghana
The Ga people in the seaside town of Teshie, near the capital of Accra, are know for creating coffins in shapes that related to one's status or profession; a camera for a photographer, a hen for a mother of many children, a book for a teacher, a truck for a driver, a hammer for a carpenter, etc. Some are specially commissioned by the family of the deceased and others are prepared ahead of time and placed in a showroom to be purchased as needed. The body is viewed in the open coffin during the wake, then the lid is closed and it is carried on the shoulders of the pallbearers to the cemetery, where it is buried in the ground.

Eric Kane is carrying on a family tradition that spans several generations (Telephone 0233-114719. Email: ericannan_kwei@hotmail.com ). Apprentices learn the craft while they help fill the orders.

Aojer Dani Klur is creating a bottle-shaped coffin for a deceased vendor with soft Wawa (Obeche) wood. Each piece is measured, then cut to fit.

It is placed into position, planed were necessary to fit better, then glued and hammered in place. The coffin is refined with a plane before the joints between each piece are filled.

This cocoa pod coffin (for a cocoa farmer) is beautifully lined.

The oil-based paint is thinned and mixed (green is made by combining yellow and blue), then sprayed in several layers to produce the subtle shading. A stem will be added after the painting has been finished.

 

In another part of Teshi, Daniel Oblie of Hello Design Coffins (P. O. Box 102, Teshie, Ghana. Telephone: 0274-014625) offers apprentices the opportunity to learn the craft so that they can set up their own business in their home town.

This apprentice is attaching a fin to a fish-shaped coffin (for a fisherman). The joint is checked, planed to fit, glue is applied, then it is hammered into place.

Joints are filled, they are left to dry, then the piece is sanded and painted. Foam rubber is glued to cloth to make the lining more comfortable.

Links:
Ashanti Kente Weaving in Bonwire, Ghana    
Ashanti Kente Weaving in Adawomase, Ghana
Ewe Kente Cloth Weaving in Denu, Ghana
Ashanti Adinkra Making in Ghana
Glass Bead Making in Odumase Krobo, Ghana
Ashanti Glass Bead Making in Daabaa, Ghana 
Painting and Baskets of Sirigu, Ghana    
Ashanti Lost Wax Casting in Krofofrom, Ghana
Wood Carving in Cameroon
Haida Wood Carver, Reg Davidson
Haida Painter, James Sawyer
Polish Wood Carver, Jan Piotr Ledwon
Polish Wood Carver, Czeslaw Olma
Mexican Wood Carver, Fernando Giron Pantoja
Mexican Marquetry Box Maker,
José Antonio Rodríguez  
Silva Foundation Workshops in Lisbon, Portugal   
Marquetry of Granada, Spain
Religious Sculpture in Seville, Spain 
Wood Carving in Bali, Indonesia 
Horn Carving in Bali, Indonesia

Carol Ventura's Home Page 

Recommended Book:
Going into Darkness: Fantastic Coffins from Africa, by Thierry Secretan, Thames and Hudson, 1995, ISBN 0-500-27839-3.

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Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura..