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Akua'ba (Fertility Doll)

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unknown Fante

Akua'ba (Fertility Doll)

Late 19th century - Early 20th century

10 1/2 in. x 2 in. x 1 1/2 in. (26.67 cm x 5.08 cm x 3.81 cm)
Gift of Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.5.102
Other Number(s): 82-41 (Neufeld Collection Number)
Geography: Africa, Ghana
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Fante, Akan, Ghanaian, West African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection
Akan oral tradition tells the story of Akua, a barren woman, who longed to have a child. When a carver created one for her out of wood, the child was then taken to the shrine to be spiritually charged. After being mistreated by others for not having children and carrying a wooden child, Akua became pregnant. Following in this tradition, Akan who wish to become pregnant commission wooden children for themselves to be consecrated at the shrine house as a means of promoting fertility.

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Akua'ba (Fertility Doll) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=1/20/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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