Metaphorical Conceptualizations of Life and Death in the Asante King’s Burial Rites

  • Charles Owiredu Daniel Institute, Central University (Ghana)
Keywords: African Belief Systems, Asante king, Conceptual Metaphors, Funeral Practices, Ossilegium


This paper analyses the metaphorical structure of the domains of life and death in Asante thought within the framework of the conceptual metaphor theory. The Asante data comes from metaphors instantiated in the burial rites of the Asante king. It describes and analyses the rites of passage of the king’s first and second burial. Furthermore, it accounts for how the Asante people conceptualise life and death to identify the possible rationale behind their practice of ossilegium for deceased kings. One potential reason for the practice of secondary burial for the Asante king is their belief that life and death form a continuum instead of a break. Consequently, this gives rise to various metaphorical mappings that inform their thoughts, belief systems and funeral practices. The paper concludes that the Asante people believe that even in the king’s death, he must be treated as a living being since “the Asante king does not die.”