African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Nyamézi figure
Nyamézi figure (N° 22649)
Figurative anthropomorphic sculpture, carved in very dense wood. Represented in a posture linked to the dance, the character offers a severe physiognomy, which a hairstyle meticulously made of glass beads softens.
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Brown satin patina, cracks.
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 territory of Unyamwézi They were therefore led to travel from the Congo (DRC) to the coastal towns 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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