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Calabash Doll

Nyamwezi, Tanzania

Doll. Nyamwezi Culture, Tanzania

This is an early example of a Nyamwezi doll. The doll is composed of two separate calabashes which have been joined together. The central joint has been covered with multiple adorning strands of early glass white beads, bells, brass rings and chains with attachments including coins and a small carved wooden fetish figurine.

The doll’s ears, eyes, nose and mouth are made from wood, and the doll’s hair is represented by strings of early glass white beads. Two strands of black glass beads, fixed to either side of the calabash, act as the doll’s arms. Figures such as this were kept and cherished as dolls by girls from various cultures in western Tanzania. Doll of different compositions can also be found throughout southern Africa, as well as northern Kenya.

Field collected in the 1990’s

Estimated Period: Mid-20th Century (Or Before)

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H: 34 CM
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