TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

EWE

The Ewe people, who live in southeastern Togo and are the eastern neighbors of Ashanti, make small wooden statues and textiles with figurative motifs and symbols. These Aklama statues, roughly carved out of wood represent the protective spirits and are kept by the Ewe in their local shrines. Mainly the Ewe are known by their dolls. Some scholars believe that they were used only as fertility dolls, other consider them toys. The women keep these dolls under their mattresses to ensure fertility. Dolls with broken arms or legs were considered by the Ewe as more powerful. They ensured that children would be born healthy, with their arms and legs intact. The Ewe also produce clay figures of phallic form, called legba, used as tribal or family fetish representing the spirit of fecundity and generative power. Like the Yoruba people in Nigeria, they carve ibeji twins figurines, for protection of survivor after death of a twin. They also produce animal figures in black clay, copper figures in lost-wax technique, representing animals and small masks.

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