A FINE AKAN TERRACOTA FUNERARY HEAD, Ghana
- height 12 1/2 in. 31.8 cm
Both oral and written evidence suggest that ancient Akan funerary terracotta portraiture originated in a royal context. According to oral tradition, each time a chief died, "an elderly female artist with powers of clairvoyance would be commissioned to make a terracotta image of that individual. Akan royal portraits tended to be idealised; frequently, they embodied attributes of physical perfection - fleshy rings around the neck, big bulging eyes, and shapely noses and lips considered beautiful in Akan culture" (quoted after Musée Dapper 2003: 96). For a related example cf. loc. cit. (106).