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Makonde Spoon Ceremonial Figural Tanzania African Art

Product #: 93859
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Title Makonde Spoon Ceremonial Figural Tanzania African Art
Type of Object Trumpet
Country of Origin Tanzania
People Makonde
Materials wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 27.5 inches long x 4.25 inches wide x 2.5 inches deep
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair scraped patina, chipped rim

Additional Information: A ceremonial laddle or spoon with exqiusite design and creativity.  The face atop the handle is undoubtedly Makonde, with ornate scarification and the tell-tale large lips.  The patina is remarkable, and indicates significant age and use.  

The Makonde are one of the most prolific art-producing cultures in East Africa, and their works are known worldwide. Though often identified with their wildly abstract and sensual "shetani" carvings which are produced for sale, they also have a long tradition of ritual art, which includes a wide variety of helmet masks, male and female ancestor figures, and an almost endless variety of utilitarian objects, such as this figural sppon. There are also the startling female "belly" masks. Masks play a prominent role in Makonde life, and mark the end of the initiation and circumcision cycles for boys, as they re-enter society as men, ready to marry.

The Makonde are a Bantu-speaking group who moved into northern Mozambique from their original homelands in Tanzania, near Lake Nyasa. There are still pockets of Makonde living in Tanzania today, and the two groups are separated by the Rovuma River. Despite the proximity of the two groups, they consider themselves culturally distinct, though ideas and artistic traditions are shared. Their first contact with Europeans did not occur until 1910 and, even then, European influence was minimal. Their coastal location hints at an involvement with Swahili slave traders in centuries past, although this is not certain. Recently enclaves of Makonde have been found living in and near larger cities in Kenya.  

Recommended Reading: See Kahan, A TANZANIAN TRADITION.