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Fertility Figure

Fertility figure (akua'ba)

Asante People
Ghana
Fertility Figure (akua‘ba)
20th Century
Wood, glass beads, wire
Gift of Rod McGalliard
2002.39.2

Akua’ ba or “child of Akua” figures are recommended by Asante priests for women who have problems with fertility or childbearing. The figure embodies characteristics of Asante ideal beauty and health – a large rounded forehead, even features and a ringed neck –reflecting the desire to have a healthy and beautiful child. Some figures are further embellished by the addition of ornaments, given as gifts from the prospective mother. The finely beaded strands on the neck and head of this figure recall the Asante use of opulent beaded ornaments as signs of a woman’s beauty, wealth and prestige.

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