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Traditions & Encounters: Art of Africa, Oceania & Native North America

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Female Figure with Child

11 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 3 7/8 in. (28.6 x 9.5 x 9.8 cm)

Unknown, Asante
Ghanaian

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood, iron, sacrificial materials
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1970.62
Location: Currently on view
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This is likely a representation of the Asante Queen Mother, a female relative of the king who has the authority to nominate his successor. The infant’s dependence on the mother for nourishment and protection symbolizes the kingdom’s dependence upon the Queen Mother for guidance. Associated with earth goddesses, agriculture and fertility, this Queen Mother figure was probably kept as part of a fertility shrine where sacrificial offerings were made (remnants of eggshell still remain on her surface). Scholars are confused by the weapon in the mother’s hand and think perhaps it was added at a later date.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

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