Shona sculpture has flourished from the 1960s to today and continues with one of the most dynamic sectors within the Zimbabwean economy. Going from strength to strength and finding new markets to export to. All in all the carving of stone which derives from an area in Zimbabwe called the Great Dyke, continues to thrive.
So how did the Zimbabwean Stone culture begin? Then known as Rhodesia, its then directory of the national art gallery, Frank Mcwen, encourage local artists to develop their sculpting skills and express their country’s traditions and beliefs in their works.
Zimbabwe’s Stone Masons
Thus began a new tradition, always there beneath the surface but used to create tourist souvenirs and to flourish as an art form in its own right. The great structure, The Great Zimbabwe (from where Zimbabwe gets its name), was built some 1200 years ago by artisans skilled in stone carving.
The Heart of the Stone
African legends and the spirit of Africa are brought to bare on this new form of stone sculpture. The artists believe that stone they are to work on, reveals to them what it wants to become as they sculpt and carve the stone and free the spirit within the stone.
Thus African shona sculpture has its own forms and conventions born out of the continent that it belongs to. Africa with its rich history and vivid colours and wild bush.
The stone used by sculptors in Zimbabwe is known as soap stone from a family of stone collectively known as serpentine. These stones were formed from sediment, laid down millions of years ago and formed from intense heat and pressure.
Now these rocks are exposed in a geological structure called the Great Dyke. The stone comes in a wide variety of colours and different patterns. No two stones are ever the same and so no two sculptures and every the same.
Because of these different characteristics in the stone, the artist has to look into the stone to imagine how the veins of colour or grains of other impurities twist and turn inside the rock and peel and reveal those traits in their finished pieces.
Where to Buy Shone Sculpture
There are several places to buy Shona Stone Sculpture like the one here. Remember that Shona sculpture pieces are individually made so no two are the every exactly identical. But we’re sure that you’ll find something you’re like, whether that’s human forms, animal forms or abstract forms. There will always be something you’re find that appeals to your taste.