January 2021

Ahoy, African Shipment of Fine Art

With global travel still on hold for most people it’s hard to experience other cultures, their food, their people, their various landscapes, the iconic landmarks and their traditional skills and crafts.

As many of you know, our showroom in Glebe always has a plethora of unique vintage furniture, tribal artefacts, handcrafted decorative items, lighting and textiles from all over the globe. And even in these challenging times we’ve managed to source and bring back some stunning pieces from Africa and China.

This Congolese proverb perfectly expresses the community spirit that exists in the African people. The whole village work together to make everything happen. From growing, harvesting, hunting, building, creating, everything comes from togetherness. A system, sadly, that much of the modern world has forgotten.

The bracelets, necklaces and amulets that we have sourced are primarily from Kenya, Cameroon and Tanzania. The Maasai of North Tanzania are probably more noted for their colourful  adornments where they are worn on various parts of the body to communicate a subtle message that seeks to bring about a sense of inclusiveness, togetherness and unity of purpose.

As with all African artefacts each village, town or country uses them differently to convey various messages. The Turkana women wear necklaces and bracelets as a sign of social status, where the women of Ghana wear beads around their waists to accentuate their feminine shape.

Unlike much of the modern western jewellery today which is worn purely for fashion, ultimately the care and appreciation of these hand-crafted adornments go way beyond fashion, they have a meaning and purpose within each community.

Imagine the look on your partners face if you presented a Namji doll and proposed marriage. Originating from the Namji tribe of North Cameroon, Namji dolls are and were often used for exactly that. A marriage proposal gift. This is just another wonderful example of cultural differences from around the world and what makes  travelling to these amazing places so incredibly fascinating.

They are also used as fertility dolls and given to brides that believed they held powerful potent charms that would enhance fertility and make for an easy labour by warding off evil spirits. Carried everywhere with them as a good luck charm they are passed on to the daughter through the family to be used for the next generation.

Carved from African Rosewood, Namji Dolls date as far back as 1940 and the older ones can fetch a pretty penny at auctions and showrooms. Namji dolls of Cameroon are considered to be the most beautiful of all the African dolls, hence their recent popularity as collectables in homes and offices. And because of their varied sizes, shapes and colours your collection will be as unique and diverse as the varied tribes in Africa. An excellent gift that helps African tribal craftsman and their families and brings good fortune and health to its lucky recipient. Bring good luck to your home from our house!