This is the muroora (pron. mu-roar-a), the young bride – she is very pretty, the idealised version of womanhood. She is a common theme in Zimbabwean sculpture, as she encapsulates Shona culture’s most valued feminine qualities – beauty, yes, but also she must be demure and subservient and hard-working.
Although things are changing as the Zimbabwean population becomes increasingly urbanized, there is still great pressure on young women to meet this almost unattainable combination of attributes. The older generation maintains this value system despite rapid social and economic change.
It’s a quintessential example of Chiwawa’s work, with his trademark double-ringed eyes, curving brow and sharply-edged noses. Now that Chiwawa has sadly passed away, this is one of the last few pieces of his work Guruve has in stock.
‘Cobalt stone’ is the local Zimbabwean name for this type of serpentine, which is typically a mixture of purple and green. It does not, as far as we know, contain any cobalt mineral but may originally have been discovered near a cobalt mine.
Edward has signed it on the base.
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