African Shona Sculpture

Shona Sculpture - three headsShona Sculpture from Africa

One of the most pleasant things to come out of Africa, in the last 30 or 40 years, is Shona Sculpture. These sculptures, fashioned by artists from Zimbabwe, have a real African feel about them. Like they could have come nowhere else but from the great savannas of Africa.

They have that power of form, that pureness of spirit, wrapped in the traditions of African folklore. All subjects are covered from the purely abstract forms to the family unit, through to wild animals of the Zimbabwain veld. Family groups often depict a mother and her children together as one carved piece. A very strong bond respented in stone.

Unique Sculptures

Because these sculptures are made from stone and no two stones are ever the same, each sculpture becomes unique. Hand made and distinctive. So although a sculptor may make lot of small hippos for the tourist market, each one will be different, slightly smaller or slightly bigger. One may have a different facial expression than another, some might have a slightly different finish from another and so on.

It’s a lot like the terracotta army found in China, where each soldier is different. But not quite on such a grand scale as the China’s terracotta army.

Shona Sculpture - Naked LadiesThe Sculptors Raw Materials

The stone used comes in all forms and the many different colors. The colors in the stone come from the type of mineral present in the rock and they can be very beautiful in there own right. Different rocks can have different steaks or bandings of color within them a kind of marbling effect. Yet others will reveal different colors depending on whether the stone is polished our left in its nature rough state, which is also a way for the sculptors to add textures to the stone carvings.

Lots of It

Zimbabwe is blessed with huge quantities of these rocks and stone, found in Zimbabwe and lying along it’s Rift Valley. Which runs from north to south, from Zambia in the north to South Africa on its southern border.

Shona Sculpture - familyFind Out More

If you’re interested in finding out now or would like to purchase a sculpture our two, then take a look here

History of Shona Sculpture

Detailed look at Zimbabwean Art through Time

Stone used in the Sculptures