Tribal art > African Statues > Sukuma statue
Sukuma statue (N° 22620)
Female sculpture, from central Tanzania, where the Nyamezi and Sukuma live. Carried by high spread legs, the wide bust offers conical breasts balancing a protruding buttocks. In the center of a round head, the eyes are sunken while oversized ears contrast with discreet features.
Glossy black patina. Abrasions, desiccation cracks.
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The Nyamwezi, Nyamézi, form the largest group among the tribes living in north central Tanzania. Coming from diverse origins, although sharing the same cultural specificities, their ritual and artistic production consequently presents very different formal aspects. The cult of ancestors and chiefs, of major importance within their culture, marked their statuary. The Sukuma and the Nyamézi produced statues represented in a static position, some of which, with filiform limbs, evoke the artistic creations of Alberto Giacometti. They were involved in the 19th century in the caravan trade that crossed their Unyamwézi territory. They were therefore led to travel from the Congo (R.D.C.) to the coastal cities of the Indian Ocean, where they were called "Nyamwézi", "men of the moon" or "men of the West". Organized in villages headed by chiefs, their spiritual life remained however under the responsibility of the sorcerer.
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