In Ghana, elaborate combs such as this one were gifts from Akan men to women to commemorate special events, such as puberty celebrations, weddings, or births. This example’s iconography informs the reason for its commission: crowned by a female bust with a disk-like head, it echoes the highly conventionalized akua ba fertility figures. The female is surrounded stylized birds and hearts. As a gift from a husband to his wife the comb underscores the couple’s desire to have children. Evident is also the relationship between the akua ba as an ideal of feminine beauty and the function of the comb in the creation of the coiffure.
Late 19th Century
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