Art and Death in Southern Côte d’Ivoire

by Robert Soppelsa
US State Department / Art in Embassies (formerly Washburn University)

Ghana; Fante peoples

Female figure with twins

Ceramic

46.4 cm (18 1/4”)

Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company, 81.17.442

The round-headed style of this sculpture makes it identifiable as Ghanaian, from the coastal Fante. The large figure has two distinct marks of prestige: her size, which is quite large, and the fact that she is seated. When they are depicted seated, Akan terracottas usually sit on concave-topped Akan stools, themselves emblems of high prestige. The smaller figures, undoubtedly representing children, are further indications of prestige, which is also linked to fertility. Unlike the two Anyi pieces, which are characteristically solid, this sculpture, like most Ghanaian terracottas, is hollow.