Name ID 367

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Bayly Museum
Extract Date: 1993

Makonde, Tanzania: Wood


A Web-based exhibit from the Bayly Museum and our first Web resource, developed in November 1993, in HTML 1.0. Including:

Makonde, Tanzania


A modern style of sculpture made for the European export market, this piece depicts a 'tree of life' motif: the members of an extended family, including past and present generations, gently supporting each other, generation after generation, around the family ancestor. The naturalism of the human figures, the sculpture's polished finish, and the choice of wood (ebony) were originally dictated by the European tourist trade of the 1950s. The artistic unity, imagination, and delicate detail of the piece on display all indicate its high quality. Although thoroughly modern in style, without any known basis in traditional Makonde art, the subject matter of this sculpture is entirely indigenous.

Gift of Mrs. Nancy Gray, 1981.94.75

Extract ID: 1488

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Fitzpatrick, Mary Tanzania, Zanzibar and Pemba
Page Number: 34,35

Sculpture & Woodcarving

Among the major representatives of Tanzanian figurative art are the Makonde, who are renowned throughout East Africa for their original and often highly fanciful carvings. Authentic Makonde carvings are made from ebony wood. Some of the simpler ones relate to the cult of womanhood and are carried by the male carver as a good luck talisman. More common are those with ujamaa motifs, and those known as shetani, which embody images from the spirit world.

Ujamaa carvings are frequently designed as a totem pole or 'tree of life' containing from several to many interlaced human and animal figures, each of which is connected with and giving support to all of the others. These carvings often reach several metres in height, and are almost always made from a single piece of wood. Among the most impressive are those designed around a hollow central column. One of the most well known of the original ujamaa-style carvers is Roberto Jacobo. Jacobo traditionally carved only one sculpture each year as inspiration for his students, who would then produce modified versions for commercial sale.

The shetani style, which has become popular in recent years, was first developed by an artist known as Samaki. Carvings with shetani motifs are very abstract, often grotesque, and are designed to challenge the viewer to new interpretations while giving the carver's imagination free reign. In contrast to the ujamaa and shetani motifs, which are relatively recent, earlier Makonde carvings generally depicted more traditional themes, often relating to various deities or rituals. Even today, the Makonde produce carvings of ordinary household objects such as bowls and walking sticks, although these are seldom seen for sale.

While it can be argued that the extensive commercialisation of Makonde carvings has had a negative impact on artistic and imaginative quality, it has not totally destroyed originality. On the positive side, it has had the effect of securing many carvers a livelihood which they would not have been able to achieve otherwise.

The major centres of Makonde carving in Tanzania are in the south-east on the Makonde plateau, and in Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam became a haven for Makonde carvers during the large-scale migrations from Mozambique in the 1950s and 1960s. Many Makonde migrants made their way from Mozambique into southern Tanzania, and from there to the capital, attracted by better employment opportunities and by favourable marketing prospects for their carving.

Extract ID: 1401

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Millett, Katherine Makonde Carvings: In the beginning
Extract Author: This article was submitted by Katherine Millett and Thomson Safaris.

Makonde Carvings: In the beginning

Images and text "2000 Thomson Safaris, Inc.

"In the beginning, there was a being, not yet man, who lived alone in a wild place and was lonely. One day he took a piece of wood and shaped it with a tool into a figure. He placed the figure in the sun by his dwelling. Night fell and when the sun rose again the figure was a woman and she became his wife. They conceived and a child was born, but after three days it died. 'Let us move from the river to a higher place where the reed beds grow.' Said the wife. And this they did. Again she conceived and a child was born, but after three days it, too, died. Again the woman said 'Let us move to yet higher ground where the thick bush grows.' Once more they moved. A third time they conceived and a child was born. The child lived, and he was the first Makonde."

The Makonde are one of the five major tribes in Tanzania who originally migrated north from Mozambique to the southern Tanzanian highlands. They are internationally famous for their intricate carvings, based on Life, Love, Good and Evil and which form their beliefs about the origins of man. The carvings are possibly the greatest art forms which originate from Tanzania and are considered the most positive and uninhibited of all East African art. For centuries their figures carved from Mpingo or Ebony have played a central role in their ceremonies. Today the carvings still maintain the traditional elements of the human story in a tribal setting although many of the carvers have inevitably been influenced by the Western demand for their products. It is easy to find what is classed as "Modern Makonde" which is aimed purely at the tourist market and is basically Modigliani in style.

Mpingo bark is a light color under which is a small layer of white soft wood. The heart wood, however, is very hard and varies in color from a deep red to black depending on the soil type and age of the tree. When finished, the carvings are polished and the wood quite literally shines. Again, due mainly to the tourist trade, the carvers also use other types of wood such as coconut and some have also learnt to carve in stone and coral. Imitators of the Makonde art across East Africa, often use cheap local hardwoods and finish the carvings with boot polish to give it the Ebony look. The most important theme in true Makonde is the Family, especially the Mother figure. The artists show the struggles and problems of the family as well as the good times that they share. Many of the carvings are also based on faith and religion. The many Spirits they believe in, good and evil, are depicted as well as the folklore passed down through generations.

Extract ID: 3113

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Books & Articles on Art and Culture, Tanzania

Schaedler, Karl-Ferdinand. Die Tingatinga-Schule: Tanzanische Quadratmaler aus der Rosenfeld-Sammlung = The Tingatinga School: Tanzanian Square painters from the Rosenfeld collection / English translation, Geoffrey P. Burwell. Munchen: Panterra, c1998. 80pp. illus. (chiefly color), bibliog. (page 80). Text in German and English. ND1097.6.T3S33 1998 AFA. OCLC 40911149

The life of Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga was cut short in a 1972 car accident and shooting incident, which occurred just as he was achieving recognition for his square-board paintings. The informal painting school which bears his name has gained a foothold in the panorama of modern African art, and its practitioners continue to earn a livelihood from painting long after the departure of Tingatinga. The paintings are popular with non-African buyers, especially Europeans and Japanese, and there is evidence that stylistic elements and themes are geared to these foreign tastes. The sixty-three paintings illustrated in color in this book are from the collection of the Rosenfeld-Blank family, a German couple from Bad Kissingen.


Die Maler aus Msasani/Tansania ; [exhibition, IFA Galerie, Bonn, February 24-March 21, 1987; text by Ingrid Jaax-Zimmermann]. [Bonn: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, 1987]. [19]pp. illus. ND1097.6.T3M24 1987 AFA. OCLC 20583554.

Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga, a self-taught painter born in a village in southern Tanzania on the border of Mozambique, hit upon a successful formula which quickly found a market in Dar es Salaam. Painting on square boards 60 inches x 60 inches, he created fanciful, colorful images of animals and people. Soon he attracted young followers and the Tingatinga school arose, based in the village of Msasani near Dar es Salaam. Although Tingatinga died in 1972, still relatively young, his vision lives on in works of Amonde, Mruta, Tedo and others. This 1987 exhibition in Bonn featured forty-five works of eighteen Msasani painters. Twenty-one black-and-white illustrations. See also the related article by Jutta Bender-Str�ter and Helke Kammerer-Grothaus, "Die Quadratmaler von Tansania," Afrika-Post (Bonn) mai 1987, pp. 28-30.


Tingatinga: Afurikan poppu-ato no sekai / Kenji Shiraishi and Fumiko Yamamoto. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1990. 115pp. chiefly illus. Text in Japanese and English. qND196.P6T58 1990 AFA. OCLC 28834211.

Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga had a very brief artistic career, cut short by his death in 1972. However, he started an informal art movement that now bears his name, and it continues to be active in Dar es Salaam. The Tingatinga paintings are highly colorful and decorative images of birds (the most common subject), wild animals, daily life, and spirit figures (shetini, mganga, and mizimu). They are always painted in flat, bright colors and lack a depth perspective. In this volume, there are 146 paintings, all by Tingatinga's followers, reproduced in color.

Another thirty-six works of art of the Nyumba ya Sanaa group are illustrated. This group of self-taught Tanzanian artists specializes in batiks, woodprints and drawings, also made primarily for the expatriate market.


Tingatinga = Teingateinga II: Jiyafuari no Afurika / by Kenji Shiraishi and Fumiko Yamamoto. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1992. 103pp. illus. (pt. color). Text in Japanese and English. ND1097.6.T3T58 1992 AFA. OCLC 28384335.

Jaffary Aussi, one of the more innovative among the younger generation of Tingatinga artists, has carried on the Tingatinga tradition with his own distinctive stylistic interpretations and experiments in color and perspective of distortion. Yet he remains firmly rooted in the original Tingatinga sensibility. Animals predominate in his paintings as they do in all Tingatinga paintings. In fact, it is the animal-man relationship that is one of the hallmarks of this informal school of painting founded (almost by chance) by Eduardo Saidi Tingatinga in Dar es Salaam in the late 1960s. Tingatinga and his followers are mainly Makua, and it is argued here that Makuan folklore and legends form a thematic base for the Tingatinga paintings, even amongst younger adherents, who are urban born and bred. Being related by blood ties and working closely together, Tingatinga painting is "family art."

The works of Jaffary Aussi constitute the centerpiece of this second Tingatinga book by this Japanese publisher. Yamamoto introduces the artist, and Shiraishi in his essay "Portraits of coexistence" elucidates the larger phenomenon of the Tingatinga school and, in particular, its founder E. S. Tingatinga (1937-1972).


Art Makonde: tradition et modernit" . [Paris]: Minist�re des affaires etrang�res, Secretariat d'�tat aux relations culturelles internationales, Association fran�aise d'action artistique; Minist�re de la coop�ration et du d�veloppement, [1989]. 209pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. Text in French and Portuguese. NB1097.6.M6A78 1989 AFA. OCLC 20964411.

Makonde sculpture, old and modern, represents an artistic tradition which evolved in response to the historical and economic forces affecting the Makonde people throughout the twentieth century, especially after the 1930s. It is a story which unfolds in reverse chronology from the contemporary internationally known modern Makonde sculpture to its historical and cultural antecedents about which less has been written or is known. This exhibition in Paris embraces all aspects of the Makonde story. Of the six individual essays, one deals specifically with modern Makonde sculpture: that by Elisabeth Grohs, "Art Makonde contemporain = Arte Makonde contempor�nea," (pp. 144-157). Grohs avers that the evolution of what we recognize as modern Makonde sculpture dates to the 1930s when the first exhibition was held at Centro Cultural dos Novos in Mozambique. However, it was in Tanzania, where many Mozambique Makonde had emigrated in search for work, that interest in their sculpture as a commodity arose. The Indian merchant Peera was instrumental in encouraging this development. Using the hard wood mpingo (Dalbergia Melanoxylon), Manguli Istiwawo, Pajume Allale, Roberto Jacobs, and others carved in what has become known as the "tree of life" or ujamaa style. The "shetani" style originated with Samaki, but was quickly imitated and soon became a popular and successful commodity in the markets of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Following independence in Mozambique in 1975, official recoginition on the part of the government has further encouraged this modern tradition of sculpture.

The catalog was reviewed by Eric Lehuard and Raoul Lehuard in Arts d'Afrique noire (Arnouville) no. 73: 49-50, printemps 1990. Exhibition reviewed by Myfanwy Van de Velde, "Makond" art, traditional and modern," Le Courrier (Brussels) no. 119: 94-96, janvier-f�vrier 1990; by Emmanuel De Roux, "Les malentendus de l'art africain," Le Monde (Paris), November 1, 1989; by Jacques Binet, "Art moderne, art ancien: trois expositions" Paris," Afrique contemporaine (Paris) no. 153: 82-88, janvier 1990.


Chambers, Eddie. "Makonde art," Art monthly (London) 129: 18-20, September 1989. illus. VF -- Sculpture - East Africa.

Chambers, a black artist in England, takes sharp issue with the whole premise of the 1989 Makonde exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Oxford (see Wooden sculpture from East Africa below), which he characterizes as another in a long line of generic "exotic bric-a-brac" shows. He resents the emphasis on the (white) collectors, whereby the collectibility of the art overshadows the individuality of the artist. He asserts, "If MoMA genuinely wanted to present challenging art from Africa, they should have sought and respectfully presented Africa's truly modern art" (page 20). Far from challenging white stereotypes about what African art is -- which MoMA director David Elliott claimed in the catalog -- the choice of Makonde sculpture only confirms the limited, myopic, short-sighted view of what may be accepted as "African art." See responses to this attack by Jeremy Coote, an adviser on the exhibition, and by David Elliott and Michael F. Stephen.


Coote, Jeremy. "Makonde art," Art monthly (London) 130: 26-27, October 1989. VF -- Sculpture - East Africa.

Coote defends the choice of Makonde sculpture on exhibit at Oxford's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which came under attack by Eddie Chambers (see above); he challenges Chambers' notions about equating black art with art by people who happen to be black. It is limiting, Coote argues, to restrict our view of "African art" only to religious and spiritually significant art and to modern art by academically trained artists. Makonde sculpture, far from being a degenerate tradition, "is work which transcends such simple categories as `commercial' and `spiritual,' `traditional' and `modern.'"

The question of identity vs. anonymity of artists is one which raises the counterquestion as to why all exhibitions have to focus on individual artists -- which is itself a Western notion. To present the work of a particular sculptural tradition flourishing at a given time is equally legitimate. See also David Elliott's supporting rejoinder to Chambers' criticisms.


Coote, Jeremy. "Modern Makonde carving: the origins and development of a new African art tradition," pp. 13-22. In: Wooden sculpture from East Africa from the Malde collection; [exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, April 2-May 21, 1989]. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1989. illus., bibl. refs. qNB1097.A35W88 1989 AFA. OCLC 19864947.

Modern Makonde art derives from the Makonde people living on the plateau south of the Ruvuma river in Mozambique (rather than from the Tanzanian Makonde). They migrated north into Tanzania and entered into the curio trade that began to emerge in the 1950s and 1960s in Dar es Salaam and Mtwara. Their new sculptural forms grew naturally out of older traditions of woodcarving (again, unlike the Tanzanian Makonde, who had no real carving tradition). Modern Makonde sculptures range from curios of the airport variety to truly fine sculptures of imagination and artistry, but the reality of their production for commerical purposes is one that cannot be ignored.

Coote discusses the materials, techniques, styles and genres. In addition to traditional carving (especially masks with typical Makonde scarification), there are three identifiable modern styles -- binadamu, ujamaa, and shetani -- which correspond perfectly with the characteristics sought by Western art consumers of "erotic" art: a move to naturalism, giganticism and grotesqueness. Shetani sculptures were once thought to be the invention of one man, but Coote clarifies the story and adds refuting evidence from the Malde collection that this is not so.


Elliott, David. "On misrepresenting Makonde," Art monthly (London) 131: 29-30, November 1989. illus. [and letter by Michael F. Stephen]. VF -- Sculpture - East Africa.

Elliott, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, rises to the defense of his museum's decision to exhibit a collection of Makonde sculpture, responding to a sharp critique by Eddie Chambers on the very idea of such a show. The Makonde corpus of the 1940s and 1950s featured in the exhibition legitimately reflects the birth of an autonomous modern art tradition; that it is not ritual art or that it became commercial are insufficient grounds for dismissing it as Chambers did. The quality of the sculpture stands on its own and should be assessed as such. That this exhibition is a substitute for showing black artists in the U.K. is, Elliott asserts, preposterous.

A second letter by Michael F. Stephen ("Venomous disinformation," page 30) follows Elliott's letter. In it Stephen also defends the scope and purpose of the Makonde exhibition and in so doing rebuts Eddie Chambers' "venomous disinformation." Stephen, who wrote one of the essays in the exhibition catalog (see below), defends his own experience in Mozambique in response to Chambers' implied slur against the credentials of authors of the catalog. The exchange of letters continued in Art monthly: Eddie Chambers, "Eddie Chambers on Makonde," Art monthly (London) 132, December 1989-January 1990, and a final sally by David Elliott, "Out of Africa," Art Monthly (London) 133: 35, February 1990. With that, the editor called a halt.


Herold, Erich. "On some problems of the modern art of the Makonde people," Annals of the N�prstek Museum (Prague) 11: 93-109, 1983. illus., bibliog. GN37.P8N21 AFA.

Modern Makonde sculpture poses problems of classification, evolution and authorship. The early proposition of two "styles" of Makonde sculpture -- shetani and ujamaa -- has proved unsatisfactory because it really refers not to "style" but to subject matter; moreover, it fails to cover all examples, especially recent ones. To understand Makonde sculpture it is necessary to return to the source: the artist. The corollary to this line of research is the study of themes, their origins and evolution, and the influence of one work upon another, one sculptor on another. The difficulties inherent in stylistic comparisons of individual works are illustrated and discussed by Herold using ten sculptures from the N�prstek Museum.


Kammerer-Grothaus, Helke. Skulpturen aus Ebenholz: Kunst der Makonde; [exhibition, Museum im Kornhaus Kloster Heiligkreuztak, 1991]. Heiligkreuztal: Verlag aktuelle texte, 1991. 96pp. illus., bibliog. NB1255.A353K15 1991 AFA. OCLC 23297617.

Kammerer-Grothaus, whose essay is the centerpiece of this catalog, discusses all aspects of the contemporary Makonde sculptural tradition: its origins, its forms (e.g., the ujamaa-style figures), its iconography relating to myths and folklore, portraiture, the grotesque, and Christian imagery, and the market for Makonde sculpture. Giselher Blesse's essay "Traditionelle Makondekunst" sets the art historical background out of which the contemporary sculptural tradition grew. Elisabeth Grohs also contributes a general essay on Makonde art in Mozambique and Tanzania. Also included are interviews with two sculptors, Pajume Alale and Joseph Francis. The Makonde sculpture featured is that of Marion and Hans Eberhard Aurnhammer. Many of the sculptors are identified by name, and a complete list of artists (some with biodata) is appended.


Kingdon, Zachary Edward. Host of devils: the history and context of the modern Makonde carving movement. PhD dissertation, University of East Anglia, 1994. iv, 205 leaves, [115] leaves of plates, maps, bibliog. (pp. 199-205). Glossaires. qNB1097.6.T3K5 1994a AFA. OCLC 37014162.

This dissertation on the Makonde Blackwood carving movement focuses on the life histories of two sculptors Chanuo Maundu and Dastan Nyedi. Unlike previous studies which concentrated on issues of patronage, art market, and ascribed meanings, Kingdon places the artist as creator at the center of his investigation. The sculpture of Maundu and Nyedi and three others with whom they worked in Dar es Salaam "represent a specific development within the Makonde Blackwood carving movement which took root in Dar es Salaam during the 1960s" (page 1).

Kingdon presents a rich, layered background of Makonde culture and social organization and early history of the sculpture movement in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The role of Mohamed Peera in the birth of the modern movement as it emerged in Tanzania is examined in depth; Peera was interviewed extensively by Kingdon.

The shetani style of Makonde sculpture typifies the work of Maundu and Nyedi. Both artists are interrogated as to the meaning and significance of their shetani work within the context of aesthetics, innovation, and originality, or what Kingdon calls the "aesthetics of originality."


Korn, J�rn. Modern Makonde art / photographs by Jesper Kirknaes. London; New York: Hamlyn, 1974. 95pp. illus. (pt. color), ports., bibliog. NB1255.A4K67X AFA. OCLC 03090273.

Korn began collecting Makonde sculpture in the mid-1960s when stationed in Kibaha, Tanzania. This book showcases his collection, but it focuses in depth on five sculptors, all of whom were born in Mozambique and migrated to Tanzania: Rashidi bin Mohamed, Kashimiri Matayo, Yoseph Francis, Nafasi Mpagua, and Hossein Anangangola. Korn also includes short essays on the origins of Makonde art, the artist, and the wood used in the sculpture. The works illustrated are all in the shetani style.


Mohl, Max. Masterpieces of the Makonde; an Eastern African documentation. Heidelberg: Museum in der Au, [1974]. 68pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color), bibliog. NB1255.A42M69m 1974 AFA. OCLC 10353659.

This "Eastern African documentation" was supplemented in 1990 by a second volume (see next entry). Even taken together, Mohl does not claim that these sets of photographs constitute an exhaustive treatment of the subject.


Mohl, Max. Masterpieces of the Makonde, Vol. II: ebony sculptures from East Africa, a comprehensive photo-documentation = Meisterwerke der Makonde, Band II: ebenholzskulpturen aus Ostafrika, eine Bilddokumentation (Erganzung zu Band I). Heidelberg: Museum in der Au, 1990. 150pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color). Text in English and German. NB1255.A42M69m 1990 AFA. OCLC 21933737.

Eschewing the stigma of Makonde sculpture as nothing more than tourist art, Mohl asserts that the discerning eye can identify Makonde sculptures which are, as his title suggests, masterpieces. He admits that the task is made more difficult by the flood of imitators, copyists, and hacks. In this second volume of his photographic documentation of Makonde sculpture, Mohl includes more than 350 photographs. He largely excludes ujamaa (tree of life) sculptures from this survey. Thirty-two sculptors are represented.

Reviewed by Enrico Castelli in Africa (Rome) 48 (4): 671-672, Dicembre 1993.


Mohl, Max. Masterpieces of the Makonde, Volume III: ebony sculptures from East Africa, a comprehensive photo-documentation = Meisterwerke der Makonde, Band III: Ebenholzskulpturen aud Ostafrika, eine Bilddokumentation. Heidelberg: Max Mohl, 1997. 348pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (page 248). Text in English and German. NB1255.A42M64 1990X volume 3 AFA. OCLC 26053941.

Mohl's crusade on behalf of Makonde sculptors is rachetted up several notches in this defiant and petulant presentation. The flood of sculptures marketed today in Tanzania and abroad as "Makonde" are in Mohl's estimation "depressing." The true old masters of Makonde sculpture, most now deceased, are being forgotten. The photographs in this volume are attributed to these master sculptors, including John Fundi, Felix Mali, Christiano Madanguo, Atessi, and Samaki Likankoa. Mohl, a German art importer, lays claim to thirty-five years experience traveling around southern Tanzania, getting to know these individuals, and becoming a champion of their work. He wants to set the record straight and promises yet another volume to discuss the origins and development of the Makonde sculpture movement.


Stephen, Michael F. "`The stone horsemen have been defeated': politics in Makonde sculpture," pp. 23-26. In: Wooden sculpture from East Africa from the Malde collection; [exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, April 2-May 21, 1989]. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1989. qNB1097.A35W88 1989 AFA. OCLC 19864947.

From the early 1960s many Makonde farmers in northern Mozambique took up woodcarving to sell and supplement their incomes; this was encouraged by the FRELIMO liberation movement, which organized cooperative marketing of these carvings in Tanzania. Of course, the modern Makonde woodcarving tradition goes back well before the war of liberation, but the war and its aftermath served as a genuine impetus. The style of the figures also changed, going from the earlier naturalistic rather benign figures to more distorted, satirical or somber depictions. The so-called ujamaa sculptures (or in Portuguese "unidade de povo") date from the days of the liberation struggle.

The shetani sculptures from Mozambique differed from those in Tanzania; the latter were more sexually explicit and grotesque, being solely for the foreign tourist market. Stephen sees the more "puritanical" shetani of FRELIMO carvers as a direct result of FRELIMO's position against all forms of sexism and racism. The FRELIMO philosophy also mitigated or "tamed" the influence of the male masquerade mapico (mapiko), which came to be seen as essentially oppressive to women. The mapico was "liberated" and became a cultural symbol for Mozambique; it is danced on national days and has even appeared on a postage stamp.


Stout, J. Anthony. Modern Makonde sculpture / foreword by Elimo Njau. Nairobi: Kibo Art Gallery Publications, 1966. xviii, 121pp. illus., map, notes, bibliog. NB1097.A35S8 AFA. OCLC 1020281.

A pioneering book on Makonde sculpture, originally intended to accompany a 1965 exhibition in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Modern Makonde sculpture documents the collection of Anthony Stout, acquired between 1958 and 1965 in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. In his essay Stout dwells at length on the economics of Makonde sculpture and the market relationships of the sculptors and middlemen, already a concern in 1966. He provides long descriptive captions for the sculptures illustrated. Multiple views and detail photographs are included. Stout concludes with an essay on "Sculpture suggestive of magic practices and the ritual use of drugs." Looking back at these Makonde sculptures of thirty-odd years ago offers an instructive baseline from which to assess subsequent developments.


Wooden sculpture from East Africa from the Malde collection ; [exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 2 April-21 May 1989] / foreword by David Elliott. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art, 1989. 48pp. illus., map, bibliog. qNB1097.A35W88 1989 AFA. OCLC 19864947.

This exhibition and its catalog are important for three reasons. One, the venue of the exhibition itself at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford marks the first time Makonde art has been shown (in Britain) as contemporary art in a museum devoted to modern art. Secondly, it is a collection assembled by a couple living in Tanzania, who knew many of the artists and who were collecting actively from 1942 until 1968; so it reflects a particular historical period before the great commercialization of Makonde art. Thirdly, the exhibition and catalog, particularly the essays by Coote and Stephen, raise a number of important issues about perceptions, preconceptions, ethnocentricism and about art and politics. This exhibition also sparked a lively debate in the art press. See Chambers, Coote, and Elliott, above.

Extract ID: 3202

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nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Peter-Andreas Kamphausen
Extract Date: 1 Aug 2002

Modern Makonde Art


perhaps you are interested to put a link on the new web pages below.

Yours sincerely

Peter-Andreas Kamphausen

Hamburg Mawingu Collection

Modern Makonde Art

Carvings and paintings from East Africa

Seestr. 4, 22607 Hamburg / Germany


Extract ID: 4110