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Female Figure (Akuaba)

10 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. (26.7 x 10.8 cm)

Unknown, Asante
Ghanaian

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Nathaniel T. Whitcomb
Accession Number: 1984.19
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

Asante women often carry dolls called akuaba to encourage fertility and ensure the health and beauty of the child. The figure is placed at an altar or held in the wrappers of a woman's clothing, treated as a real child until pregnancy occurs. If the resulting child dies, the akuaba might be kept as a memorial to the infant. Akuabas are representative of ideal beauty, demonstrating round or oval heads with high foreheads, and long necks with excess fat, indicating a good state of health.

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