Zimbabwe's largest tribe, the Shona, are among the world's finest stone-art craftsmen. According to Newsweek magazine, Shona sculpture is probably the most important art form to have emerged from Africa during the 20th century. These stone abstract sculptures are prized in art museums and galleries worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as the Rockefeller family's personal collection. Shona sculpture is a relatively young art form, but the popularity of Shona abstract sculpture has grown exponentially.
The self-taught Shona sculptors select and quarry their own stone with hatchets. They use crude chisels to "release" the spirit trapped in the stone, and then bring it to a high shine with sand and beeswax. Finally, the stone is heated over fire to bring out the brilliant colors. Shona sculptors rarely sketch their work in preparation. Rather, they prefer to work directly on the stone, often working on more than one abstract sculpture at a time.
Shona figurative sculptures made today are not very different from those made more than one thousand years ago. In fact, it is said that Picasso was an admirer of early Shona abstract sculpture.
Other figurative sculptures
Besides Shona stone abstract sculptures, Namilegs.com carries figurative sculptures made from sese wood in forms such as mermaids, mother and child, and shadow busts. We also carry intricately crafted warrior figurines. Take a look around. You're sure to fall in love.