African (Shona)

Mother Elephant with Baby, late 20th century
Sculpture, Red jasper stone
11 x 8.25 x 8 in
SKU: 13906g
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This small and intimate sculpture of a mother and infant elephant is a heartfelt and doting example of the sculpture of the Shona artists of Zimbabwe, but also demonstrates the clever use of the texture of the stone. The sculpture is highly stylized: the mother elephant's head emerges from the top of the stone, her face and trunk long and thin, and her ears bursting out like wings on either side. The face is repeated with her baby below, and both are polished smooth. The bodies of the two, however, are merely suggested by the rough-hewn shape of the stone behind. The use of texture of their bodies is ingenious, using a series of crossing lines to create a rough surface that mimics the appearance of real elephant skin and contrasts with the polished surface of their faces. These formal qualities of the sculpture allow the themes of motherhood and love come to the forefront of the artwork.

Unknown Shona artist
'Mother Elephant with Baby,' late 20th century
red jasper stone
6.5 x 4.87 x 1.25 inches, sculpture
4.5 x 8.25 x 8 inches, base
11 x 8.25 x 8 inches, overall

Good overall condition; some scattered minor scratches; chip along proper right ear of mother elephant