Verdite Shona Stone Pendant on Adjustable Necklace Zimbabwe
Shona sculpture, originating from Zimbabwe and named after the Shona people, gained prominence in 1965 under the influence of Frank McEwan, the director of the Rhodes National Gallery. McEwan, an Englishman, established a school in 1956, transitioning students from painting to stone carving in 1965. The sculptures, crafted from stones like serpentine and soapstone using simple hand tools, showcase a unique blend of traditional African styles and modernist influences. Typically depicting human figures or animals with smooth, flowing lines and abstract forms, the creation process varies from a few hours to several weeks. The roots of Shona sculpture trace back to the 1950s when artists experimented with new styles influenced by both traditional African art and modernist movements. This art form, renowned for its distinctive aesthetic, has significantly impacted contemporary art globally, exhibited in museums worldwide. Beyond its artistic contributions, Shona sculpture has played a vital role in preserving Zimbabwe's cultural identity and traditional African art for future generations.
In 1997, Elizabeth and Sara stumbled upon an exceptional carver, Lawrence Mzimba, at a quaint craft market in Zimbabwe. Enthralled by his exquisite verdite pendants, they made a landmark purchase, becoming his most significant sale yet. A surprise email from Lawrence in early 2013, sparked by spotting one of his remaining pendants on their website, reignited their connection. Thrilled at the prospect, they eagerly embraced the opportunity for more of his remarkable work, having struggled to locate him during their subsequent travels to Africa.
During their recent trip to Africa, Elizabeth, and Sara joyously reunited with Lawrence Mzimba, acquiring an impressive array of hand-carved Shona stone pieces. This diverse collection encompasses abstract faces, miniature busts, wildlife like rhinos, elephants, birds, rams, and iconic figures such as the Zambezi River God, Nyami Nyami. While Shona stone possesses strength, it's susceptible to scratches, urging careful handling.
Each piece in this assortment bears the distinctive signature of the artist, Lawrence Mzimba, a skilled artisan born in 1965 in Harare. Since 1994, Lawrence has dedicated himself to full-time stone carving, fashioning captivating creations and an array of stone and cow bone pendants.