Fertility Doll (Akuaba)

Brooklyn Museum

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Bearing a traditional pedestal base, this Fante akua ba is columnar in form with indications of small breasts and neck rolls. The artist who rendered the highly abstract doll likely carved the figure from a single piece of wood, working with the grain.Abstraction in West African religious sculpture has tended to be connected to a deeper spiritual meaning than more commercially driven naturalistic depictions. The differences in style have been attributed to the spiritual nature of the artist during production. However carvers produce both styles of objects for the global market in which they are often divorced from their original intentions.Wolff, Norma H. “African Artisans and the Global Market: The Case of Ghanaian ‘Fertility Dolls.’” African Economic History, no. 32, 2004, pp. 123–41, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3601621.

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