fertility objects

Akua ba, carved from a single piece of wood with a flat oval head with eyes, brows, nose, and lips indicated by carved relief. The back of the head is flat and bears a grooved symbolic design. The lower quarters are limited representation to a long neck and two schematic arms set on a pedestal with a differentiated base. The doll is stained green. Such dolls were carried by girls, thrust into the back of their waist cloths to ensure that their offspring would be well formed. The discoid head and the long neck represents the Ashante ideal of beauty and nobility. This particular form, without representation of lower body is by far the most common.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk