Akan People, Ghana
19th to very early 20th Century
In Ghana, elaborate combs such as this one were gifts from Akan men to women to commemorate special events, such as puberty celebrations, weddings, or births. This example’s iconography informs the reason for its commission: Crowned by a female head with a typical young girl "horns" coiffure, it echoes the highly conventionalized akua ba fertility figures. The comb underscores a protection purpose with, in the middle section, a spider biting a snake on one side and a rifle on the other side.
This superb work comes from the collection of the late Olga Hirshhorn. Hirshhorn collected works by Willem de Kooning, Henry Moore, Rodin, Picasso, Man Ray (etc...) as well as works from Asia and Africa, in particular jewelry. In 1995 she donated over 600 works to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC., estimated at the time to be worth about 10 million dollars.
The comb is in very good condition, the patina is black and it is mounted on an "old gold" custom base by Romain Laforêt. I date it to the end of the 19th or very early 20th Century.
H: 28 cm (11 inches)
Price : 1200 Euros enquiry