Female Figure (Akuaba)
10 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. (26.7 x 10.8 cm)
Asante; made in Ghana
Medium and Support:
Gift of Mrs. Nathaniel T. Whitcomb
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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