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 consisting of six deformed humanoid heads arranged in a column. The facial features are: flat noses, protruding eyes, open mouths, some with protruding upper teeth. Three ear-like appendages are depicted on the upper portion of the column. Ridged exterior surface.