Lot 149
  • 149

A fine Asante comb

5,000 - 7,000 USD
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the complex superstructure consisting of the shoulder with an incised rifle on one side and the inscription 'KWA MEANH(?)E' on the other; the first tier with a stool framed by knots beneath the cross-section incised with locks and keys and a state sword on either side; the top tier composed of a central figure with a disc-like head and horns framed by knots and a pointed arch at the top; with 12 tines; slightly encrusted dark brown surface.


Rene Rasmussen, Paris
Merton D. Simpson, New York, April 13, 1965


Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Museum, Selections from the William W. Brill Collection of African Art, May 5 – August 31, 1969 (for additional venues see bibliography, Milwaukee 1969)


The Duluth Sunday News-Tribune, February 8, 1970: 6

Catalogue Note

See Cole and Ross (1977: 52, figure 88) for a closely related comb. The imagery on this comb, in particular the central figure, relates to the well-known akuaba fertility figures; forms that are almost always female. 'The desire for children that prompts the carving of akuaba is in keeping with the function and context of Akan combs. As a gift from a husband to his wife, the comb underlines the couple's desire to have children...and may have a spiritual dimension that encourages fertility' (ibid. : 51).