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.

Iconographic meaning

Goat-like head may suggest funerary figure.

Physical description

Seated humanoid figure holding an animal head. Leg on the left of the figure extends up to meet the animal head. The arms grasp the head, one of which holds a horn-like appendage. Animal head has pointed teeth meeting the chest of the human figure. Humanoid figure has large round eyes while the mouth on the left of the face has four prominent teeth. Very rough texture on the leg on the right of the figure and on the base.