Doll (Akua'ba)

19th–20th century
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General Description

An akua'ba (or akua'ma in its plural form) is a highly stylized sculpture that depicts the perfect baby. The ideal features include a flattened forehead like those of royal infants, the creased neck of well-nourished babies, and lustrous dark skin. These dolls are adorned with precious beads and other coveted materials. Akua'ma are usually female because the Fante peoples, a subgroup of the Akan, are matrilineal; women perpetuate the family line and inheritance is through the mother. The Akan peoples are composed of several subgroups, including the Fante and the Asante.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.