|Title||Nyamwezi Male Moveable Arms Tanzania African Art 22 Inch|
|Type of Object||Carving|
|Country of Origin||Tanzania|
|Approximate Age||20th century|
|Dimensions||Height: 22 Inches
Width: 5.5 Inches
|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.|
A standing male figure with pivoting arms. This figure is from the Nyamwezi (people of moon) who live in Tanzania where such figures were found. The use and function of this figure are not known. Such figures were probably used in connection with the cult of ancestors.The dark patina is the evidence that the figure was receiving offerings and sacrifices, a practice common in many African ancestor cults.
It is known that before the invasion of Islam and Christianity traditional Nyamwezi worshiped the ancestors. Today a few groups of Nyamwezi become Muslim and some other Christians.The Nyamwezi are the largest ethnic group in central Tanzania where they share close ties with the neighboring Sukuma people. According to oral traditions they settled in west central Tanzania where they presently live sometime during the 1600s. Called “people of the moon” by their neighbors in Tanzania The Nyamwezi lived in large settlements and later in a number of kingdoms but today live in small dispersed settlements. The Nyamwezi are known for their carving that is at best not embellished, roughly executed and relatively sparsely described in the literature of East African art. They produce numerous expressive masks, elegant figures and interesting puppets. These carvings represent nature spirits, ancestors or prominent local people are used in various ritual ceremonies.
Recommended Reading: Marc Felix's MWANA HITI.