A pair of small Christian crosses are prominently placed at the centre of this comb’s delicate openwork format. A finely incised checkerboard design features on one side of the body of the comb, and multiple rows of indented semi-circular shapes adorn the opposite side. The variety of artistic symbols engraved into the surface of the comb reflect wider religious, aesthetic and cultural values, constructing a story out of shapes. Cherished by women and their families as a memento, combs such as this would have been kept in the household and passed down through the generations.
Among the Akan, hair combs were commissioned by carvers and given as gifts by male admirers to women, or by a husband to his wife, to commemorate and mark milestones in her life. The iconography of an Akan comb reveals the reason for its commission, and illustrates the relationship between the man and woman.
Ex Clive Loveless, UK (London)
J. E.T. Kuwornu-Adjaottor (2016) The Philosophy Behind Some Adrinka Symbols and Their Communicative Values in Akan, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, p.26