20th Century Tanzania Pregnant Kwere Wood Mwana Hiti, African Art
20th Century Tanzania Pregnant Kwere Wood Mwana Hiti, African Art.
East Africa, Tanzania, Kwere people, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. An anthropomorphic wooden figure, known as a “mwana hiti”, in the form of a woman with a distinctive double-crested hairstyle. She stands, her legs slightly bent, with her hand resting on her pregnant stomach. She is depicted nude. Her face is planar and round, bisected by her thin, long nose, with a small mouth.
Mwana hiti are the best known artwork from the Kwere people, who have lived in what is now Tanzania since 1000 CE, where they live just inland from the coast near Dar es Salaam. The hairstyle depicted here is commonly seen on figures from this time period – two high braids formed to jut out from the top of the head. The hairstyle originated in Zanzibar and was popular around the turn of the 20th century.
Size: 5″ W x 11″ H (12.5 cm x 27.94 cm)