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Medium: One of a Kind Hand Carved Ebony Wood - Made out of one piece of wood
Height: 2.3 feet/27 inches, 69 centimeters
Length: 5 inches, 13 centimeters
Region: Kenya, East Africa
Artist: Ndonye Mwanzilo
Approximate Age: 34 years (1988)
Availability: In Stock, Available to Ship Immediately
Item Number: MS001
Condition: Excellent; Not previously owned; Undamaged
Markings: Artist’s Signature
Provenance Report: "Masaai Tribe"
Tear Sheet: Available Upon Request
Sourcing: Fair Trade
Certificate of Authenticity Provided
Ndonye Mwanzilo is a dedicated sculptor working exclusively in ebony to carve his refined “Masaai Tribe” figures. His characteristic detailed work demands great patience and a great deal of time to complete. Each piece is carved with a steady and most skillful hand. He is widely acknowledged to be the finest among the many ebony wood carvers from the Machakos district in Kenya. The recurrent themes of his work reflect Masaai tribal life. Mwanzilo believes art is a powerful and essential medium in which to preserve the tradition and culture of Masaai life.
Ebony wood is one of the most valuable, rare, and expensive types of wood in the world; prized for its dark core. Ebony trees (Diospyros) are generally small and slow growing. The Greek name for ebony is Diospyros meaning 'fruit of the gods' and this wood is famous for its dark beauty and opulence. Because of its high density, texture, and waxiness, it is ideal for the production of fine artwork.
Currently, worldwide demand for ebony wood is at an all-time high while supply is an all all-time low. A factor that influences rarity is darkness: the darker the color of the ebony, the more valuable it is. Today, artworks from light brown-brown ebony trees (harvested at 50 years old) are being produced. However, darker woods, also known as “pure ebony” (that look black at first glance) have become increasingly hard for collectors to acquire. York’s Shona Gallery is one of the only African galleries with such dark ebony in the United States.
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