A6K9S286.jpg (21625 bytes)A8K9S286S.jpg (23594 bytes)Akye (Atye, Attye, Ankye), Côte d’Ivoire

Ceremonial female figure. The Akan-speaking Lagoons groups of Côte d’Ivoire use such figures in various ways, for instance, in “spirit-lover” cults and that of the deceased twin. Widespread in Lagoon societies is the belief that when people are born into the world they leave behind a spirit counterpart, or “lover”, in the otherworld. This counterpart may become jealous and cause his or her earthly part impotence, infertility or other misfortune. This figure may have been used in this manner or by a medium diviner or healer. In either case it would have been consecrated to serve as a dwelling place for a spirit. The spirit associated with the figure would be aroused by the diviner to communicate with the supernatural world and the figure’s visual presence during séances would have helped to legitimate the diviner’s special powers of communication.

Material:  wood

Size:  H. 20”, W. 5”, D. 4½”