Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Museum Mystery: Where Do These Objects Come From?

Monday Museum Mysteries are back! In this biweekly feature, we unlock the vault and share hidden treasures from our collection. Try your hardest to answer the questions asked, and when you think you know, check out the bottom of the post for the correct answer! This semester, Monday Museum Mysteries is teaming up with the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, so each post will focus in some way on women and their impact on the world! 

This week, we are visiting a tribal people far from Mississippi. These people live in matrilineal societies. Does anyone know what that means? It is a fancy way of saying that these people trace their family history back through the women's side of the family. Many other societies tend to use the male to create their family history. Do you have any idea where our mystery people might be from?

These people have a rich history, and these two objects are both significant parts of that history. Two of these pictures show combs. These combs were usually given to brides as a wedding gift from the groom, and women could own more than one, depending on their wealth, status or beauty.

These two combs were hand carved by
the same group of tribal people.
The hand carved details provide a date of creation for the comb.
Can you figure out how old this comb is?
This third picture depicts what our mystery people use as a fertility statue. Women carry these carved, wooden sculptures around on their back and believe that the statues will help them have a baby. The sculptures are created to show the ideals of a woman in this mystery society.

This small sculpture is called an Akua Ba after a
women (Akua) used one to help her have a ba, or "child."

Do you think you know who these people are? After you have thought long and hard about who our mystery people are, then scroll down to the end of the post to reveal the answer!

These objects were created by the Ashanti or Asante people of Africa. This tribal people lives in what is now the country of Ghana. The carved comb that dates back to 1944, making it 73 years old!

Did you guess the answer correctly? Be sure to check out our next Monday Museum Mystery for more exclusive looks into the University Museum's behind-the-scenes collection!

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