221028 - African Akan Terracotta head - Ghana.


African Terracotta Akan head from Ghana.

size; 16 cm high.

An Akan terracotta head with a long metal stand shows a round flat head shape and a piece of neck for attachment to the metal rod with a braided band from ear to other showing damage at the point.

"While terracotta portraiture flourished among southern Akan peoples, it was virtually unknown to the Asante and the northern Akan. Royal family members commissioned terracotta portraits from female artists to be placed in sacred groves outside the village days or even months after they died. Periodically, rituals comprising libations, offerings, and prayers were performed at these groves in honor of the ancestors. Busts, standing and seated figures, and figuratively decorated vessels populated such groves along with commemorative heads, generally called mma ("infants"), of which the Cleveland head is an example. These terracotta memorials were viewed as idealized portraits of the deceased, with the ancestor's identity suggested by cosmetic adornments, including scarification patterns and symbols of rank and prestige."

well documented in Lit.: Cole/Ross, 1977; Drost, 1967; Ghana Museum, s.d.; de Grunne, 1980; Holas, 1951; McLeod, 1981; George Nelson Perston, 1981; Rattry, 1927; Schaedler, 1985; Sieber 1972; Stößel, 1981.

The stand is not included.