Africa is a continent full of legends, mysteries, and symbolic meanings. The Ashanti doll from from Ghana is one of many unique and prevailing symbols. This doll represents fertility and good luck and is even used by young girls as a way to prepare for motherhood.
The Legend of the Ashanti Doll
Legend has it that the bearer of an ‘Akuaba’ fertility doll will give birth to a beautiful child that is 24 inches long. Traditionally a woman would wear the doll on her back hoping to conceive a child or in hopes that her current child would be born healthy. In some villages, a priest will give the doll to a young woman after conducting specific fertility rites. More often, the mother who has used the fertility doll will hand it down to her daughter. In preparation for motherhood they will wash the dolls, carry them on their backs, put them to bed, dress, and even “feed” them.
The Symbolism of the Ashanti Features
The round head of the Ashanti doll is symbolic of the feminine womb. It also is considered by some to be symbolic of a moon goddess. A high forehead is a symbol of beauty, the neck ring depicts creases caused by fat, which is an indication of health. The body of the fertility doll is shaped like a cross and is similar to the Kamitic symbol known as the Djed, which according to Egyptian legend is the backbone of the God Ausar. In ancient spiritual teachings, Ausar possesses great power because his emotions and thoughts are stable and unwavering.
A Lasting Tradition
For many ages fertility dolls have stood the test of time. While in Western culture these dolls have come to represent good luck and a hand-craft piece of African artwork, in Africa these dolls have a very important place dating back many centuries.
Where To Get Your Own Ashanti Doll
You can own your own hand-crafted Kenyan Ashanti dolls by clicking here.