Ghana Akuaba Fante Tribe Fertility Doll
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Hand carved from wood. A unique, handmade art, no two pieces are exactly the same. This sculpture is carved by hand featuring a small waist and large thighs. The characteristic features of such dolls are a flat round disk-like head, a high forehead, an annulated neck, outstretched arms and female sex. Such characteristics symbolized desirable traits for a woman in Fante society. The long annulated neck symbolized fatness – a sign of prosperity. Pregnant belly arms suggest fertility and rebirth.
Such designs were believed to promote fertility, attract good luck and wealth.
History of fertility dolls
Giving birth to a child is a singular rite of passage for a Ghanaian woman. The inability to conceive is cause for suspicion of poor health, even witchcraft. The traditional solution for the barren woman is the AKUA’ BA DOLL. More than a “doll” in the Western sense, an AKUA’ BA DOLL is a surrogate child, wrapped in cloth and carried on the back as one would carry a normal African baby; suckled and put to bed like a real child. An AKUA’ BA DOLL is a good luck charm, an attempt to lobby the fertility gods for a child.
According to legend, a barren woman named Akua went to a traditional priest for help. He instructed her to commission a small wooden child and carry it on her back, treating it as if it were a living child. This subjected her to ridicule in the village, and the term “Akua’ ba” (“child of Akua”) was born. In time, however, Akua conceived, giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Suddenly, carrying an AKUA’ BA DOLL became common practice, a symbol of hope for barren women. So prevalent did they become, in fact, that even pregnant women took to carrying them—to ensure a healthy child. The disc-shaped head and the neck depicting rolls of fat are ideals of Ashanti beauty. They once molded the shape of their newborns’ heads in such a way
MATERIALS: Sese wood
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Made in Ghana.