Owl (Potono)


Nyanga Serpentine

  • 30cm (h)
  • 23.5cm (w)
  • 11cm (d)


Famous Zimbabwean sculptor Edward Chiwawa of the Shona sculpture art movement

Edward Chiwawa


The potono is a Shona name for a specific type of owl whose head turns right round to the back.

(Edward was very specific about this, rather suggesting that other owls couldn’t turn their heads as far, but we have no way of knowing whether this is true!)

This is a really wonderful example of Edward’s work. We haven’t seen an owl from him for a long time and this particular piece is quirky and charming, made even more interesting by the detail of the feathered wings.

Edward has signed it on the base.

This unusual variety of serpentine stone comes from Nyanga in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. It was the favourite medium for famous first-generation artist Claud Nyanhongo, whose family came from the Nyanga area. It’s a pretty pale yellowy-green with black dots, very similar to some types of serpentine known as leopard rock. However, the latter comes from a completely different part of the country.