“The Sukuma people are a comparatively large tribe and number approximately one million. They live in small villages in the northern part of Tanzania, each of which is headed by a chief who is also a sorcerer and whose power is counterbalanced by secret societies.
Sukuma carvers are associated with large, rough-looking, standing figures, which have a weathered patina. In some instances these statues were made either with articulated limbs or were carved without any arms and legs at all. their bold, rounded heads usually have eyes inset with beads. The later figure may have been used as scarecrows and the figures carved with articulated limbs, known as Amaleba, are used by musicians and dancers during ceremonies in the dry season, following the harvest. Another type of tall, carved figure, to which fetish material is attached, is thought to represent an ancestor.
Sukuma masks have a fearful expression, exaggerated features, including applied eyebrows, and a beard and mustache, and, like their statues, have a weathered patina. In common with the Amabela, Sukuma masks were also employed during dance ceremonies in the dry season. Steatopygous terracotta figures with a small head and hands resing on their hips and long ivory necklaces were also made by Sukuma craftsmen.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
Art from this Tribe
Rudimentary Sukuma Style Face Mask 11.5″ – Tanzania – African Art
Amusing Sukuma Style Face Mask 14.5″ – Tanzania – African Art
Amusing Sukuma Style Face Mask 10″ – Tanzania – African Art
Amusing Sukuma Style Face Mask 12.5″ – Tanzania – African Art