About this object

History of use

The Makonde were a matriarchal, agricultural society. Traditionally, it is thought, the sculpture of the Makonde was restricted to ceremonial and ritual goods. Shetani spirits or creatures, now seen in contemporary Makonde sculpture, were probably unknown before the advent of commercial art production in the mid-1950's. Tales of encounters with these rarely seen spirits or creatures were part of Makonde mythology and folklore and may have served as artistic inspiration for the pieces.

Cultural context

Commercial art.

Physical description

Figure depicting an elongated human-like figure standing on two leg-like limbs, the arms holding an incised triangle-shaped object over its head. The figure's head, which is at its waist, is supported by an elongated upright shape. There is a pointed ear-like projection at the top of the body between the arms.