Asante Akua’ba Doll Figure
Consecrated by ritual specialists, they are carried by women who hope to conceive a child. After influencing pregnancy, akua ba become family heirlooms
Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 37 tall on the stand
Ref. Number: 1881
Asante or Ashanti Akua’ba female ‘doll’ figure; made of wood with a disc-shaped head, short projecting arms, ringed neck, and breasts, with scarification around the protruding navel and above the breasts, on the cheeks and to the rear. Columnar torso expanding to base. The outer edge of the head has pierce holes most possibly for beaded earrings at one time.
Provenance: Ex-Professor John Monroe, Nevada, Iowa, USA.
Characterized by their disk-like heads, abstracted horizontal arms, cylindrical torso with simple indications of breasts and navel, akua ba figures remain one of the most recognizable forms in African art. Consecrated by ritual specialists, they are carried by women who hope to conceive a child. The flat, disk-like head references the Akan ideal of feminine beauty of a round face and wide forehead. The rings on the figure’s neck are a standard convention for rolls of fat, a sign of beauty, health, and prosperity in Akan culture. After influencing pregnancy, akua ba become family heirlooms, appreciated not only for their spiritual associations but also as beautiful images that call to mind a loved one.
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