Akua'ba Dolls. In traditional Ashanti society, in which inheritance was through the maternal line, a woman's essential role was to bear children, preferably girls to continue the matrilineage. Fertility and children are the most frequent themes in the wooden sculptures of the Asante. Such are akua'ba fertility figures. The akua'ba are dolls with disk-shaped heads embodying their concept of beauty and carried by women who want to become pregnant and to deliver a beautiful child. A Ghanaian source indicates another use: when a child disappeared, the akua'ba statue was placed with food and silver coins at the edge of the forest to attract the malevolent spirit responsible: the spirit would then exchange the child for the statue.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection