This Duafe Comb shows a female figure with tribe marks sitting on a stool.
It is a conceptualised version of a Akua’ba figure with a ringed neck and small conical breasts. The flattened, diamond shaped head symbolises a beautiful and fertile woman.
The comb has seven teeth as seven is a sacred number in Akan rituals. It is painted with red and black colors which are culturally the colors of danger and grief and are used to communicate the passing of a loved one.
History behind the Duafe Comb
The duafe combs of the Akan are an example of the dual nature of classical African, especially Ghanaian art. They represent a combination of art and function. These decorative combs are used by Akan women to groom and style their hair, but also to decorate already braided hairstyles. Duafe combs were also used in the past to show respect to passing men by taking their combs out of their hair and putting them back in.
These combs are usually given to women by brothers, fathers, admirers and husbands on special occasions and their iconography reflects the relationship between the woman and the man who gives the comb as a gift. The mothers of Akan queens and the women of royal courts have particularly ornate combs to signify their rank.