Springstone (Serpentine)

  • 135cm (h)
  • 39cm (w)
  • 27.5cm (d)


portrait photo of Tutani Mugavazi

Tutani Mugavazi


Such an imaginative use of an interesting piece of stone! The textured surface of the natural stone balances atop her head like Nefertiti’s headdress, contrasting beautifully with the smooth elegance of her exquisitely sculpted face.

Nefertiti translates to ‘the beautiful one has come forth’. She was the ‘great’ wife of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, and they ruled together when ancient Egypt was at the height of its power and wealth. A painted stucco-coated limestone bust of Nefertiti was discovered in 1912 by German archaeologists, and its beauty has led to Nefertiti becoming famous as the most beautiful woman of the ancient world. Tutani’s inspired choice of this particular piece of raw stone, whose shape echoes her iconic headdress, serves to inform the viewer that this stunning lady is a queen revered even to this day for her beauty.

Tutani tells us that he saw the shape of the unworked raw stone, and immediately the shape of Queen Nefertiti’s headdress came to his mind. The minimal working of the stone of the headdress reveals his confidence as a sculptor, drawing the viewer’s attention to the stone without feeling the need to clutter the form with superficial decoration. A few elegant swirls will suffice! Very clever, confident work from one of Zimbabwe’s most talented young sculptors.

The use of contrasting textures and finishes, and the sympathetic use of the natural form of individual pieces of stone, are very typical of the Shona sculpture movement as a whole.

Springstone is the local name for a very hard variety of serpentine stone. It is suitable for outdoor display, as it is dense and impermeable and has very few flaws that might be exacerbated by frost action.