Akua'ma (plural of akua'ba) figures are an embodiment of the beauty ideals of the Asante peoples and are used to divine fertility, abundance and attractive children. These figures are notable for their disc-shaped heads with high foreheads and arched eyebrows; newborns' heads are sometimes shaped to emulate this elegant structure. The ribbed neck represents rolls of fat (also a coveted characteristic) and the scarification around the eyes reflect local customs of beautification and empowerment through decorating the body. In the hopes of getting pregnant, an akua'ba is usually worn against a woman's back, where a baby would be carried (hence the flattened shape). The Asante peoples are matrilineal and thus, many akua'ma are female in form, to bring about the birth of a baby girl. This particular example was created in the hopes of becoming pregnant with a boy, as evidenced by its darker color, almond-shaped eyes and small arms (female forms have round eyes, no arms and are brown rather than black). Once an akua'ba has blessed its wearer with pregnancy, it is kept in shrines as memorials and passed down as a family heirloom.

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