The Ashanti Fertility Doll is probably the most famous of all traditional African sculptures.
Figures like these were carried by girls and women to promote their fertility and to ensure the beauty and health of their offspring.
They are wooden carved dolls with disk-shaped heads embodying their concept of beauty and carried by women who want to become pregnant and to deliver a beautiful child. The fame of these objects derives from a legend asserting that a woman who has worn one will give birth to a particularly beautiful daughter. There is also a legend that when a child disappeared, the statue was placed with food and silver coins at the edge of the forest to attract the malevolent spirit responsible: the spirit would then exchange the child for the statue.
In traditional Ashanti society, in which inheritance was through the maternal line, a woman’s essential role was to bear children, preferably girls.
Ndamji Beaded StatuesAmongst the Ndamji people in the Cameroon, unadorned dolls are made by blacksmiths...
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