This wooden fertility doll has curved eyebrows that converge on the bridge of the narrow nose.
The flattened, diamond shaped head symbolises a beautiful woman. The face is confined to the lower half of the head. She has 2 rings on the neck. The torso ends in a base, the arms and legs are only indicated.
The woodwork is painted black.
History behind the Akua’ba Fertility Doll
Akua’ba are small fertility figures from Ghana. The Akan believe that the name Akua’ba comes from the legend of a woman named Akua who was barren but wished to bear children. She consulted a priest who instructed her to have a small wooden child carved and to carry the surrogate child on her back as if it were real. Akua cared for the figure as if it were a living baby and even gave it beads and other trinkets as gifts. Eventually Akua became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
Following Akua’s example, infertile Akan women or those who are newly married and hoping to have a child have a personalised Akua’ba figurine made to reverse the curse of infertility. These figurines are blessed and consecrated by Akan priests in Atano shrines; the priest prays to the spirits to give his client a living child. After the consecration, the owners of the figure have to take care of it as if it were a living child. The figure must be stroked, carried, protected and fed, some even receive jewellery in the form of glass beads and clothing to enhance its beauty.
Once the owner becomes a mother through the birth of a child, the akua’ba is returned to the priest and added to the shrine of the spirit in gratitude for the birth of the real child. The large number of figures is a sign of the spirit’s power and its ability to help Akan women conceive. In some cases, the akua’ba figure is kept by the family as an heirloom or given to the child as a toy.
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