Grooming Baboon


Springstone (Serpentine)

  • 49cm (h)
  • 22cm (w)
  • 36cm (d)


portrait photo of Sylvester Mubayi

Sylvester Mubayi


A baboon sitting, quietly grooming, looking for burrs and insects.

As well as being a necessary daily task of personal hygiene, grooming is also often a social activity. Within social primate groups, grooming helps to strengthen bonds between individuals and also, therefore, to reduce friction within the group; it also reveals and helps maintain social structure. Baboon troops can get very large, and mutual grooming can help lessen tension between the biggest males.

This is a substantial investment piece by the greatest living Zimbabwean sculptor, Sylvester Mubayi. He grew up in rural Zimbabwe and venerates all the wild animals. The baboon, which is very intelligent and strong, is one of Sylvester’s favourite topics.

The material used is a very hard variety of serpentine stone, which rings like a metal bell when struck with a punch or chisel. Sylvester has created the textured surface by striking the stone with a chasing hammer, which has a row of little metal teeth.

Springstone is naturally impermeable, and therefore frost-resistant, and is suitable for outdoor display. It is the favoured medium for Zimbabwe’s most famous sculptors.

The piece is in the UK and will be shipped from there; P&P at buyer’s expense.