This Asante statue was carved in the style of an Akua’ba doll. These dolls were created for fertility purposes and are carried on ones back. This particular piece was beautifully decorated on the backside of the piece. It measures 30 inches tall and weighs 3.5 pounds.
Beautiful Asante Akua’ba Doll 30″ – Ghana – African Art
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Minor cracking, scuffing and wear and tear. Inspect photos
About the Asante People
“When they arrived on the coast of Ghana in 1471, Portuguese sailors were astonished by the highly structured kingdoms they encountered. This initial contact, along with the area’s reputation for being wealthy, encouraged Westerners to settle in the region and to trade bronze and European-manufactured objects for Ghanaian gold and slaves.”
“The first area, which lies along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, is a flat plain covered with shrubs occasionally interrupted by lagoons. It is divided into numerous kingdoms of which the most well known are the Fante and the Ewe. The second area includes the central part of the country. It is a forest area where the most renowned tribes is undoubtedly the Asante (also known as the Ashanti). The Asante tribe, as well as other people living in central and south Ghana, speak the Twi language and collectively form the Akan people. The third area, in northern Ghana, is covered by the savannah and is the habitat of Gur-speaking people whose traditions and religions are still poorly understood.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
The Akua’ba is a fertility doll that is believed to induce pregnancy and ensure a safe delivery. The structure of the doll is similar to Ankh, an ancient Egyptian or Kamitic symbol of life. According to legend, a woman named Akua was unable to bare children, so she sought out help from a traditional priest. He instructed her to make a small wooden doll and treat it as if it were her own. Many villagers mocked her and the term “Akua’ba” (child of Akua) was formed. Once she became pregnant, carrying an akua’ba on ones back became customary practice. Women will adorn the doll in jewelry and clothing and even pretend to let the doll suckle and be put to bed. The akua’ba is ritually washed and cared for, always treated as a real child. If a woman gives birth to a daughter, the doll is often passed down to her.