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This large, very heavy 12kg AFRICAN IRONWOOD Head Carving measures 42cm high x 23cm wide.
When a notable King or Chief from the Nguni Tribe (from Central and South Africa) passes into the next life, a carving is made of them using African Ironwood.
Sculptors only carve likenesses of well known deceased persons, whose spirit is 'seen' by them in the wood.
The type of wood used is of very special significance.........
it must be partially hollow and have exit points so that their spirit can leave and not be trapped inside.
African Ironwood is a very slow growing and rare tree, and the Nguni artists only ever use DEAD wood of natural origin for their carvings.
The living tree is protected by legislation as it is so rare!
African custom and superstition forbids them to fell a live tree.
They believe the trees are their ancestors.
African Ironwood is dark in colour, extremely hard, durable and heavy.
It is very difficult to work with - rapidly blunting and breaking tools.
It makes excellent but RARE carvings as few Artists/Sculptors are prepared to work it.
Most carvers prefer to work with softer species.
Ironwood is so hard that it was used by Africans to make blades for their hoes prior to metal being available.
Ironwood SINKS in water!
Carvings of Ironwood will become ever rarer and more valuable as the species decline.
Larger carvings (i.e. over 15cm in diameter) are very rare.
Sculptures with the bark in evidence have enhanced value.
There is a name carved into the base of this head carving which reads T. Sande
It cost me a fortune a few years ago and I'm now selling it for much less than what it is worth.