June 13, 2022
Zimbabwe is home to some of the most unique stone sculptures in the world. These sculptures are internationally famous for their intricate design, fine finishing, and natural colouring. All of these pieces are carved from a very rare rock found only in one part of Zimbabwe in Africa, called Serpentine stone. This type of stone is also known as Shona Stone because the people who inhabit this area are known as the Shona people.
The Shona people began carving stone around 700AD and continue to carve today using traditional methods, handed down through generations. Each piece is hand carved using hammer and chisel by a master sculptor who works with an apprentice and sometimes also teaches other students as well.
Shona stone is an abundant material in Zimbabwe. It can be found in Zimbabwe and other countries in Africa, including Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. Shona stone is a type of sandstone with a high iron content. Serpentine and granite are also types of shona stones that aren't as common but still used for sculptures by skilled artists.
Stone sculpture is one of the oldest forms of art in Zimbabwe, dating back to the 9th century AD. The Shona people began carving stone around 700AD. Stone was used for basic tools and weapons but also for construction purposes such as building walls and huts.
The term “stone carving” refers to a form of sculpture that uses stone as its medium. It can be carved in two ways: by removing material from the surface with chisels or mallets; or by whittling away at it with abrasives such as sandpaper or files until the desired shape has been achieved
To see if the stone is suitable for carving, a small trial piece is removed from the stone using either a hammer or a power tool such as an angle grinder. If this small piece breaks off or cannot be removed without breaking, the artist will not use that stone. If it is possible to remove smaller pieces without breaking them and they are able to be removed, the artist will continue to remove larger pieces until he finds one that suits his purpose best.
Once the artist has completed the rough carving of their piece, they will begin to smooth down the surface so that it is even.
Once this has been done, they will remove any excess veins or different colored areas on their sculpture. This is done with a hammer and chisel called an "egg beater" because of its shape. The tool makes a sound like an egg beater as it breaks off pieces from the stone block until all that remains is your completed African stone sculpture!
The final act of any sculpture is tapping it with a hammer. This final act is an act of love and gratitude, and is performed by almost all artists regardless of religion or faith.
The tap that comes from the hammer hitting the stone may be seen as a form of prayer by some. It also symbolizes how pain can be transformed into something beautiful.
African stone sculptures have become one of the most recognizable symbols of Southern Africa, and are a strong reminder that art has been celebrated in this region for centuries. Although these beautiful sculptures are often seen as an export from Africa, they are actually a product of the same deep-rooted culture and traditions from which the Shona people emerged centuries ago.
You will find that these sculptures are not only aesthetically pleasing but also have an interesting story behind them as they were all handmade by Shona artists who live near the mines where this particular type of rock was extracted. These pieces are truly one-of-a-kind!
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