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Akan, Ghana

Fine Fertility Figure/Doll (Akua’ba). Akan Culture, Ghana

 This fine Akan Akua’ba figure is slightly larger in size, with beautifully carved features. The extended height of the figure’s neck, which has been adorned with multiple rings, and its protruding forehead, are the artistic signatures of this piece. A carved lug at the back of the Akua’ba doll may have served a functional purpose.


Ex Adam Prout, UK

Ex Private Collection, UK

Estimated Period: First Half of 20th Century

H: 44cm (Excl. Stand) 

H: 48cm (Incl. Stand)


Disk-headed Akua’ ba figures remain one of the most recognizable forms in African art. Akua’ ba are used in a variety of contexts; primarily, however, they are consecrated by priests and carried by women who hope to conceive a child. The flat, disk-like head is a strongly exaggerated convention of the Akan ideal of beauty: a high, oval forehead, slightly flattened in actual practice by gentle modelling of an infant's soft cranial bones. The flattened shape of the sculpture also serves a practical purpose, since women carry the figures against their backs wrapped in their skirt, evoking the manner that infants are carried. The rings on the figure's neck are a standard convention for rolls of fat, a sign of beauty, health, and prosperity in Akan culture. 


The Metropolitan Museum, Fertility Figure: Female (Akua Ba)  


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H: 48 CM
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