This is an Asante Akua-ba doll, also known as “child of Akua”. Akua was a barren woman who wanted so badly to have a child. She went for help and a priest advised her to bring a wooden doll with her everywhere as if it were a living child. She eventually gave birth to a baby girl, so carrying an Akua’ba doll became a tradition among the Asante people. Even pregnant women would carry the dolls to ensure a healthy pregnancy and child.
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.