Global Art & Artifacts

Funerary Pottery Head.  Akan.  Ghana

Click the photo above for a larger version and more pictures



Such terracotta and clay sculptures were made to serve a strictly funerary purpose, honoring – as well as commemorating –  the dead. This head may represent a deceased man. It may have stood alone or have been part of a group of figures in or around the gravesite.


The Akans believed that this world and the next are parallel spheres, and that  rank and status in life can carry over into the afterlife. A multi-stepped ritual helped to make this essential connection between the dead, works of art, and the community. The creation of clay sculptures of the deceased often took place as part of a second burial ceremony,  intended to settle the spirit in the afterlife and to place it within the reach of living relatives.


Periodically, offerings of food, liquor, and water would be made at the site because Akan people believed that spirits honored in this way were spiritually capable of assisting living family members in times of crisis.


This head has been in the hands of a number of collectors since the early 1950s.  It is thought to be from the early 1900s.


Does not stand well.  Granite base is not included.


An unusual and rare find for those interested in Akan culture.




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