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Dimensions: L:38.2in W:11.8in D:6.7in
Makonde sculptors of Mozambique and Tanzania created a unique style of art known as Ujaama (family ties) or Dimoongo (tree of life). It began in the 1950’s depicting wrestlers carrying a champion on their shoulders and later evolved into a family tree with a female figure at the top. Makonde kinship is traditionally matrilineal, with the female defining kinship. The Makonde Tree of Life sculptures are interlocking human figures that express both unity and continuity. Tree of Life sculptures are usually carved from African Blackwood or Mozambique Ebony, which is dark brown to purplish in color. However, the sculptures on display are carved from Tambotie, also known as African sandalwood, a precious hardwood from Mozambique. This is a lovely hardwood that turns easily and has a high shine finish. It also emits a pleasant spicy long-lasting scent. The sculptures come in a range of shapes, sizes, and styles, but they always have a few traits that symbolize the carvings' symbolism and value. They commonly feature extended family members, with numerous generations often represented. A focal person, usually a female figure, is typically shown at the top.
About the Tribe
The Makonde are an ethnic group who originated in Mozambique. They originally lived on the shores of Ruvuma River and later moved to settle on Mueda Plateau. They currently live in Mozambique and Southeast Tanzania and have a small presence in Kenya.
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