West African Ghana Fanti Fertility Figure ‘Akuaba’


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Object Description

A Fine West African Ghana Fanti Fertility Figure ‘Akuaba’ Carved with the Feminine ideals of Beauty including Highly Arched joined up Eyebrows on a Flat Forehead small Breast and Mouth
Abstract designs etched to the reverse of the head
Old rich smooth lustrous light brown patina
19th Century

Size: 26.5cm high, 6.5cm wide – 10½ ins high, 2½ ins wide / 29.5cm high – 11½ ins high (with base)

Object History

Ex English Gloucestershire collection

cf: Museum Für Volker Kunde Munich Inv. no. I-1318 for a similar figure

Object Literature

The Fanti peoples are grouped in the coastal regions south of Asante territory and are Akan speakers who share Asante traditions and beliefs. These figures were carved for women who often carried them on their backs inside their clothing and cared for them as if they were real babies. It was thought that the figures ensured fertility and if the woman was already pregnant, the health and beauty of the unborn child. After a successful birth, the figures were placed by the household altar and sometimes were later given to girls as instructional aids in preparation for motherhood. The Fanti are a matrilineal society and descent is therefore principally from mothers to children. It was believed that it was crucial for the women to give birth to daughters who would continue the line.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 7689 7500
+44 (0)7768 236921/+44 (0)7836 684133

Dealer Location

Suite 744
2 Old Brompton Road

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