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Kwere Male Figure Tanzania African Art

Product #: 92179
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Title Kwere Male Figure Tanzania Africa
Type of Object Carving
Country of Origin Tanzania
People Kwere
Materials Wood, pigment, glass beads
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 14.5 inches H. x 3.25 inches W.
Overall Condition Fair to good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair cracks and chips in hairstyle, in head, in arm, in abdomen, in legs , and feet

Additional Information: This subtly sculpted standing female figure comes from the Kwere people. Facial features include eyes with encrusted beads, the mouth with simple incised line and the short nose. The surface shows a timeless patina. 

Carved figures such as this from Tanzania pose problems of identity and must be generally assigned to a number of different people including the Pare, Chaga, Kerwe or Chamba/ Shamba. On this figure the hairstyle is obviously from the Kwere peoples.  It must be remembered that this area of Africa does not have the great variety or numbers of sculpture and masks as found in West Africa. Though the ethnic diversity in the region is complex that they often share sculptural styles and forms.  It is also the case that they have been not well studied to fully define the use and function of sculptures and masks among East African groups. Figures such as this are used during initiations and by traditional practitioners of healing rituals. They also are said to be commemorate an ancestor.

Tanzanian tribal art is less researched and published than Western and Central art. There are still superb pieces coming out of rural areas. The best resource on Tanzanian art is Marc Felix's MWANA HITI.

I Have examined this piece and agree with the description
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD