Maasai Warrior Couple; Kenyan Mpingo Wood Carving [ SisterSoul Closet]
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Exquisitely carved from one piece (save for the warriors spear) of the most highly prized and valuable of African woods, Mpingo; also known as African Blackwood, this Maasai warrior couple; tall, elegant and united, is an incredible find! Note: This Oversized item is excluded from the Multi-Sale Discount Offer. ***This detailed carving features distinctive Maasai traditions. The long hair of the young man denotes his warrior status. Warriors are the only members of the Maasai community to wear long hair, which they weave in thinly braided strands dressed with animal fat and ocher. Upon reaching the age of 3 "moons", two days before they are circumcised, a child is named and the head is shaved in a style that is clean apart from a tuft of hair, from the nape of the neck to the forehead to symbolize the "state of grace" accorded to infants. From this time, male children, expected to become warriors, allow their hair to grow, and spend a great deal of time styling the hair. It is dressed with animal fat and ocher, and parted across the top of the head at ear level. Hair is then plaited: parted into small sections which are divided into two and twisted, first separately then together. The plaited hair may hang loose but is often gathered together and bound with leather. As is Maasai custom, the head of his bride is shaved and she wears her a beaded collar she has made herself. These collars become more elaborate as women grow and acquire more skill and women shaved their heads to show off the beaded collars, which move around when the women dance. Also detailed are the elongated ear lobes common to the Maasai people. The Maasai peoples would stretch their piercings by using larger and larger pieces of stone, wood, tusk, and thorns. As stretching takes time, the older members of the tribe often had more stretched out piercings than younger members. This may have made having larger spaced lobes a sign of age and wisdom. This would indicate the wealth of wisdom and maturity inherent in this couple. He holds a spear and shield while she carries a bottle fashioned from a gourd. The carving details the tribal dress, called the shuka, which is a basic piece of fabric that can be worn over one shoulder; the chosen style of these two. Initially made out of animal skins, mostly cowhide but never elephant skin, cotton is now the main material, rubbed with color or dye to make it a hue allowing for camouflage in the area of Africa where a particular tribe resides; red, for the red dirt of Kenya. However, In the dry grass plains the shuka can be white to camouflage with the grain. The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. Finally, see her gently hold the long braids of her mate indicating their closeness, trust and perhaps playful humor.
8"L x 18"H x 5.5"W
Tue 12/13/16 - Sat 12/17/16 (4-8 days)
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