STONE SCULPTURE ART
SHONA SCULPTURES: ZIMBABWE STONE CARVINGS
Shona sculptures are famous the world over. The Shona sculptors have well and truly mastered their art and created stone carvings that bring our spaces a touch of class.
Being able to release the spirit and life of stone and carve flowing curves and textures from an ordinary piece of rock is the miracle of creativity.
Shona artisans, carvers and sculptors love their work and are conscious of keeping the originality and spontaneity of their work at the fore.
Zimbabwe Shona sculpture first came to the notice of the world in the 1960’s. This untouched pool of talent soon became a collector’s dream.
Before long these beautiful stone carvings were being sold in international galleries all over the world. This phenomenon has not slowed and even today they are very much sought after.
We have endeavored to bring you a small but extensive collection of these impressive Shona sculptures.
Browse our original African sculpture gallery for pieces that will capture your imagination.
SHONA STONE SCULPTURES FOR SALE
We have selected a collection of contemporary Shona stone carvings that showcase the skill and imagination of these Zimbabwean artists.
These talented sculptors breathe life into stone. They have unveiled the color and texture of the various stones they work with and created delightful objects for us to enjoy and admire.
SHONA NAME MEANING
The word Shona is derived from a Punjab word “Sohna” which means beautiful.
In the past the land of Mutapa was known as “Sonaland” or “the land of Sona”. Eventually the word became commonly pronounced as “Shona”.
THE SHONA PEOPLE
The Shona are a group of peoples who have inhabited most of Zimbabwe and part of Mozambique for nearly 2,000 years.
The Shona people of Zimbabwe have a rich history and fascinating culture. They are the majority tribe in the country making up 80% of its population.
There is a long history of stonework in this region stemming from Great Zimbabwe – an ancient stone city after which the country is named. Zimbabwe means “house of stone”. The ancestors of the modern day Shona people built many other stone walled sites throughout Zimbabwe.
It is no wonder that this ancient history of stone building has been passed down to today’s modern sculptors. Their inheritance is visible in all their work. Art is their way of expressing the link between the spiritual and the physical worlds. This is synonymous with the Shona cultural and belief system.
You will find sculptures expressing their legends, reflecting their ancestry and exposing the human day to day emotions and expressions of life.
Zimbabwe stone sculpture has developed and grown into a worldwide phenomenon. And rightly so.
Contemporary African sculpture is unique and extremely well crafted. The ideas and concepts of Shona art are very individual to Zimbabwe making stone sculptures from Zimbabwe a valuable asset.
The Shona art movement is still evolving and growing. The unusual designs coupled with the interweaving of their tradition make Shona statues popular with collectors and art lovers worldwide. Their desirability is sure to continue to grow as more of the world becomes aware of the skill and talent of Zimbabwean art.
SCULPTORS STONE USED FOR CARVING
The stone most commonly used in Zimbabwe stone carvings belongs to the Serpentine family. This stone is found in a large range of colors and hardness.
Serpentine stone was formed over 2.6 billion years ago and is abundant in Zimbabwe. Much of it is mined from the “Great Dyke” area of the country. The dyke stretches for hundreds of kilometers and is rich in many minerals. The mines are small, open-cast quarries and many of the artists will mine the stones themselves and choose the best rock for their creations.
The reason for the serpentine’s popularity is the diversity of colors it can be found in.
Other indigenous rocks used for stone statues are:
CREATING THE SCULPTURE
A sculptor is inevitably fine-tuned to the rock that he carves. If you speak to a sculptor he will describe the carving process as revealing the beauty that is in the stone. The Shona believe that the spirits of their ancestors and creatures are found within the rock and they speak to them.
They carve the stone using hand tools such as hammers and chisels to start the design, gradually using finer tools as the sculpture requires more details as it nears completion.
Sandpapering and polishing are the final phases of the creation process. This process brings out the natural beauty of the stone color, finishing off the sculpture to perfection.
This process ensures that Shona sculptures are entirely hand carved. This unique style of carving is not mass-produced ensuring that each artist creates one of a kind artwork.