African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Zigua figure
Spherical heads, large ears and pupils encrusted with pearls for these figures that textile cords connect at bust height. The surface is coated with a dense, crusty black patina.
This piece comes from the northeastern region of Tanzania, bordering Kenya, facing the Indian Ocean, where the Paré, Shamba, Zigua, and Mbugu tribes live. A relative homogeneity characterizes the productions of these groups, recalling some of the Malagasy and Batak with whom, via maritime trade, contact could once have been established.
This sculpture was probably used for didactic purposes during male initiations.
It could also embody an ancestor or a spirit.