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FANTI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 172 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FANTI, a nation of Negroes, inhabiting part of the seaboard of the Gold Coast colony, British West Africa, and about 20,000 sq. m. of the interior. They number about a million. They have many traditions of early migrations. It seems probable that the Fanti and Ashanti were originally one race, driven from the north-east towards the sea by more powerful races, possibly the ancestors of Fula and Hausa. There are many words in Fanti for plants and animals not now existing in the country, but which abound in the Gurunsi and Moshi countries farther north. These regions have been always haunted by slave-raiders, and possibly these latter may have influenced the exodus. At any rate, the Fanti were early driven into the forests from the open plains and slopes of the hills. The name Fanti, an English version of Mfantsi, is supposed to be derived from fan, a wild cabbage, and ti, di or dz, to eat; the story being that upon the exile of the tribe the only available food was some such plant. They are divided into seven tribes, obviously totemic, and with rules as to exogamy still in force. (1) Kwonna, buffalo; (2) Elchwi, leopard; (3) Eso, bush-cat; (4) Nitchwa, dog; (5) Nnuna, parrot; (6) Ebradzi, lion; and (7) Abrutu, corn-stalk; these names are obsolete, though the meanings are known. The tribal marks are three gashes in front of the ear on each side in a line parallel to the jaw-bone. The Fanti language has been associated by A. B. Ellis with the Ashanti speech as the principal descendant of an original language, possibly the Tshi (pronounced Tchwi), which is generally considered as the parent of Ashanti, Fanti, Akira, Akwapim and modern Tshi. The average Fanti is of a dull brown colour, of medium height, with negroid features. Some of the women, when young, are quite pretty. The women use various perfumes, one of the most usual being prepared from the excrement of snakes. There are no special initiatory rites for the youthful Fanti, only a short seclusion for girls when they reach the marriageable age. Marriage is a mere matter of sale, and the maidens are tricked out in all the family finery and walk round the village to indicate that they are ready for husbands. The marriages frequently end in divorce. Polygamy is universally practised. The care of the children is left exclusively to the mothers, who are regarded by the Fanti with deep veneration, while little attention is paid to the fathers. Wives never eat with their husbands, but always with the children. The rightful heir in native law is the eldest nephew, i.e. the eldest sister's eldest son, who invariably inherits wives, children and all property. As to tenure of land, the source of ownership of land is derived from the possession of the chief's " stool," which is, like the throne of a king, the symbol of authority, and not even the chief can alienate the land from the stool. Females may succeed to property, but generally only when the acquisition of such property is the result of their succeeding to the stool of a chief. The Fanti are not permanent cultivators of the soil. Three or at most five years will cover the period during which land is continuously cultivated. The commonest native dishes are palm-oil chop, a bowl of palm oil, produced by boiling freshly ground palm nuts, in which a fowl or fish is then cooked; and fufu, " white," a boiled mash of yams or plantains. The Fanti have a taste for shark-flesh, called locally " stink-fish." It is sliced up and partly sun-dried, and is eaten in a putrid state. The Fanti are skilful sailors and fishermen, build excellent canoes, and are expert weavers. Pottery and goldsmithery are trades also followed. Their religion is fetishism, every Fanti having his own " fetish " or familiar spirit, but there is a belief in a beneficent Creative Being. Food is offered the dead, and a ceremony of purification is said to be indulged in at funerals, the bearers and mourners plunging into the sea or river after the interment. See Journal of Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, vol. 261 pp. 128 et seq.; A. B. Ellis, The Tshi-speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast (London, 1887). FANTIN-LATOUR, IGNACE HENRI JEAN THEODORE (1836-1904), French artist, was born at Grenoble on the 14th of January 1836. He studied first with his father, a pastel painter, and then at the drawing school of Lecoq de Boisbaudran, and later under Couture. He was the friend of Ingres, Dalacroix, Corot, Courbet and others. He exhibited in the Salon of z861, and many of his more important canvases appeared on its wallsin later years, though 1863 found him with Harpignies, Manet, Legros and Whistler in the Salon des Refuses. Whistler introduced him to English artistic circles, and he lived for some time in England, many of his portraits and flower pieces being in English galleries. He died on the 28th of August 1904. His portrait groups, arranged somewhat after the manner of the Dutch masters, are as interesting from their subjects as they are from the artistic point of view. "Homntagea Delacroix" showed portraits of Whistler and Legros, Baudelaire, Champfleury and himself; " Un Atelier a Batignolles " gave portraits of Monet, Manet, Zola and Renoir, and is now in the Luxembourg; " Un Coin de table" presented Verlaine, Rimbaud, Camille Peladan and others; and " Autour du Piano " contained portraits of Chabrier, D'Indy and other musicians. His paintings of flowers are perfect examples of the art, and form perhaps the most famous section of his work in England. In his later years he devoted much attention to lithography, which had occupied him as early as 1862, but his examples were then considered so revolutionary, with their strong lights and black shadows, that the printer refused to execute them. After " L'Anniversaire " in honour of Berlioz in the Salon cf 1876, he regularly exhibited lithographs, some of which were excellent examples of delicate portraiture, others being elusive and imaginative drawings illustrative of the music of Wagner (whose cause he championed in Paris as early as 1864), Berlioz, Brahms and other composers. He illustrated Adolphe Jullien's Wagner (1886) and Berlioz (1888). There are excellent collections of his lithographic work at Dresden, in the British Museum, and a practically complete set given by his widow tb the Louvre. Some were also exhibited at South Kensington in 1898-1899, and at the Dutch gallery in 1904. A catalogue of the lithographs of Fantin-Latour was drawn up by Germain Hediard in Les Maitres de la lithographie (1898-1899). A volume of reproductions, in a limited edition, was published (Paris, 1907) as L'CEuvre lithographigue de Fantin-Latour. See A. Julliell, Fantin-Latour, sa vie et ses amities (Paris, 1909).
End of Article: FANTI
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MANFREDO FANTI (1806-1865)

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