Comb (duafe)

African, Akan peoples, Ghana
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Ghana

Dimensions

Overall: 27.5 x 14 cm (10 13/16 x 5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2700

Medium or Technique

Wood

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry

Classifications

Hair ornaments

The Asante, many of their neighbors in Ghana, and the Baule in Côte d’Ivoire, belong to the Akan peoples. All share similar languages, cultural traits, and artistic forms. Akan carvers’ repertoire included common items such as wooden combs (duafe) for women, used both to untangle hair and hold extravagant coiffures in place. The combs take many shapes and present a microcosm of Akan symbolism. This piece displays delicate openwork motifs, such as stools and hearts, and intricately incised surface decoration.

Provenance

1970s, purchased in Paris by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart