The Zulu tribe's name means 'the heavens,' and we feel that this is an accurate depiction of the South African art produced by the nation's largest tribal grouping. Indeed, with over 5 million people, the Zulu are the largest ethnic group in the country. They produce some of the most unique and beautiful pieces found anywhere, which will be sure to liven up your living space with an infusion of tribal energy.
The essence of a culture
South African art from the Zulu tribe is unique, because it is generally not in the form of sculpture or paintings. Rather, their art exists in the embellishment of objects used in the home, such as platters, bowls, pails, utensils, and walking sticks. Art produced by the Zulu tribe has a strong sense of geometric design. The patterns usually relate to masculinity, femininity, fertility, or cattle.
For example, consider our Zen bowl. Each basket is hand-woven from recycled telephone wire, which is a rather labor-intensive process. (Recycled telephone wire may seem to be an excessively modern material, but the practice of wire-weaving has deep-rooted origins. In fact, wire work is evident on Zulu spears dating from around the late 19th century.) The bowl's weave is tight and durable, and its whirls and circles are culturally significant, indicating good news, a new baby, good rains and a good harvest.