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Ashanti Fertility Doll Art Object

Contemporary Handmade

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Ghana

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PROVENANCE

This wooden fertility doll is inspired by a traditional Ashanti Akua'ba doll. Its history originates in southern Ghana with the legend of Akua, an Ashanti woman who could not get pregnant, sought the help of local spiritual leaders, and commissioned the woodcarving of a small wooden doll. The woman cared for the doll as if it were her own baby and soon became pregnant. As a result, the village named the figurine Akua ba, meaning Akua's child. Deeply rooted in Ashanti culture, this tale continues to inspire the use of these dolls. Both infertile and newly pregnant women carry Akua'ba dolls on their backs, dress them, adorn them with jewelry, bathe them, and put them to bed. This ritual practice is thought to bring fertility, health, happiness, beauty, and, ultimately, a safe delivery. Upon giving birth to a daughter, many mothers will pass the doll on to the next generation to teach maternal care and spread good fortune.