Image Gallery → Desire for Children
Seated Female Figure (Esi mansa)
Akan People (Fante)
Seated Femail Figure (Esi mansa)
Wood, paint, patina
Gift of Rod McGalliard
18 x 5 ½ x 5 ½ in. (45.7 x 14 x 14 cm)
Fante society is matrilineal and most of Fante art focuses on motherhood. Figures seated on a ceremonial stool are known as Esi Mansa, meaning “Esi’s third child.” Esi Mansa figures are placed on shrines where they receive offerings to ensure continuity and well-being of the lineage. The imported glass beaded necklace and waist beads on this example were given to honor and embellish the figures, but the yellow multi-stranded waist beads on both the mother and child, indicating that both are female, remind us that Fante parents fervently hope to have a daughter to carry on the family name. The white beaded necklace serves as a symbol of spiritual purity.