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

Deeply ridged human figure standing on one foot while resting the other foot on a columnar base as its respective hand touches it. Above the eyes, it is heavily splintered. The top of the head is chipped away to create a hair-like texture which is flat at the very top and angled with a central ridge along at either front side. On a lighter-coloured wood base.