Description

A fine old Ashante Ahua ba Maternity fertility figure Ghana

A very finely carved figure with large round serene face with incised design of a turtle with shell eyes

seated on a stool with a child standing on each side holding a baby.

Carved on the back of the head with geometric patterns.

Height 31 cm,

Period :mid 20th century.

Provenance: ex UK collection Scotland.

The Ashante ‘Akua ba’ remains one of the most recognizable forms in African art. Created by the  Ashante people of Ghana the Akua ba are used in a variety of different contexts , primarily , however,  they are consecrated by priests and carried by women who hope to conceive a child. The flat disc like head is a strongly exaggerated convention of the Akan ideal of beauty. The flattened shape of the figure serves a practical purpose , since women carry the figures against their backs wrapped in their skirt evoking the manner in which infants are carried. The scars be low the eyes refer to tribal marks and local medical practices as protection. .

After influencing pregnancy , the Akua ba is often returned to the shrine as offerings to the spirits who responded to the appeals for a child.
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