The Power of a Queen Mother



The Story of Idia


Power of the Queen Mother


-The Palace

-Iyoba and Oba heads


-Royal Kente cloth

-Gold Stools




African Art Home





          Unlike most Western civilizations the female in West African cultures can hold a great deal of power, especially in the position of Queen Mother. Historians view West African Queen Mothers as: "History's most politically viable female population" .  In Both Asante and Benin cultures the Queen Mother is considered the co-ruler along with the King.  However, the Queen Mother has the ultimate veto power of the King.    She is also allowed to appoint her own ministers and holds a strong decision in the ministers the King chooses as well.  The Queen mother also participates in the council meetings as dominate authority.  Ultimately the Queen Mother had the decision who became the next king within both cultures.  In Asante politics many Queen mothers built up political coalitions throughout their reign.  This allowed them to bring their sons into power and thus protect their sons.  (3)


     This figure represents a female in the Asante Kingdom who holds a great deal of power.  The form of her head indicates that she is of high status in the kingdom.