Skip to Content

Object Results

Showing 6 of 23


Fertility Doll (Akuaba)

12 3/8 x 4 7/8 in. (31.4 x 12.4 cm)

Asante artist

Asante; made in Ghana

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood
Credit Line: General Acquisitions Fund
Accession Number: 1967.31
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Fertility is a universal human concern that has long been a central issue in Africa where the infant mortality rate remains high to this day. An akuaba is a fertility talisman meant to aid an Asante woman yearning to become a mother. The horned hairdo of this akuaba is that of a priestess and indicates the child, if allowed to live, will become a priestess dedicated to a goddess. Normally it is not necessary to dedicate a child; this is more common among older women who had already lost several children.

Akuaba are affectionately bathed, dressed, fed and carried by women as they would a living child. Their slight, flat shape is designed to be carried on a woman’s back in her cloth wrapper. When the woman’s child survives childhood, the akuaba is sometimes placed in a shrine as an offering of thanks to the god responsible. Almost all of these fertility dolls are female as the Asante are a matrilineal society and most women wish for daughters to carry on their family line.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Everett Rassiga (1922-2003), New York (dealer); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1967

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

This object has the following bibliographic references:

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

Your current search criteria is: Keyword is "GXST".

View current selection of records as: