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Africa Direct

Asante Akua'ba Fertility Doll Ghana African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $89.00 Regular Price $143.00
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Title Asante Akua'ba Fertility Doll Ghana African Art
Type of Object Carving
Country of Origin Ghana
People Asante
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Height (in) 15.5
Width (in) 3.5
Depth (in) 2.5
Dimensions Height: 15.5 Inches
Width: 3.5 Inches
Depth: 2.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Old chip on side of face, small chips and aabraisions oin chin, breasts, edge of face; old arrested bug damage on base

Additional Information: Among the Akan childbearing is an important responsibility of women who are considered to have not fulfilled their purpose on earth unless they have had children and inasmuch as the Akan are a matrilineal society girl babies are preferred. The tradition of how akuaba came to be is based upon the story of a childless woman named Akua who went to her local shrine to consult with the priest of her desire to have a child. The priest advised her to have a small figure carved and to treat it as she would a real child carrying it in a cloth on her back. At first ridiculed, she was in time to deliver a real child, a girl, to the astonishment of her friends who exclaimed to her “Akua, wo ba ni” – “Akua, this is your child”. The child was named Akua or Wednesday born. Since that time barren women among the Akan who wish children will have a figure carved to keep by their side or after the child is born to place the akuaba in a shrine as offering and remembrance. As shrine pieces an akuaba is often painted with white clay to carry messages to the spirits. If kept by women at home akuaba would be dressed with cloth, wear jewelry and have hairstyles carved along the edges of the round head or inscribed on the back of the head. Some akuaba have scars on their faces, not for identification or aesthetics, but so that the spirits will not take them back. Families who have lost a number of children will cut small marks on the cheeks or temples so that the spirits who love beautiful children will be mislead and not return them to the spirit world.

For more information and examples See "ISN'T SHE A DOLL--PLAY AND RITUAL IN AFRICAN SCULPTURE," by Cameron.)