Asante (Ashanti, Achanti, Ashante,
Akuaba doll. The Ashanti region of southern Ghana is a
remnant of the Ashanti Empire, which was founded in the early 17th century when, according
to legend, a golden stool descended from heaven into the lap of the first king, Osei Tutu.
In traditional Ashanti society, in which inheritance was through the maternal line, a
woman's essential role was to bear children, preferably girls to continue the matrilineage. Fertility and children are the most frequent themes in
the wooden sculptures of the Asante. Such are akuaba
fertility figures. The akuaba are dolls with disk-shaped heads embodying their concept of beauty
and carried by women who want to become pregnant and to deliver a beautiful child. A
Ghanaian source indicates another use: when a child disappeared, the akuaba
was placed with food and silver coins at the edge of the forest to attract the malevolent
spirit responsible: the spirit would then exchange the child for the statue.
Size: H. 13, W. 5, D.