characteristic details


Almost every collector of modern Makonde art knows this situation: You're offered a wonderful carving without a signature on it and can't definetly determine the carver of the piece. This page shall help you to assign a sculpture to an artist by means of characteristic features of his individual carving style. Unfortunately it will often anyway not be possible to do this without last doubts, but it will help you sorting simple plagiarism from worthy art.

And what you should always be aware of: every piece of Makonde art - signed or unsigned - is a worthy piece when it is cleanly carved and has its own character. Airport art is easy to recognize.


In case you want to assist expanding the content of this page by telling us something about your observations or sending own pictures of special characteristics, please feel free to contact me. I and the other collectors will be happy about it!



Augustino Mwanga:

He has developed a style close to Dastani's style. Most of his carvings show unique details (e.g. the tiny structures as shown below)




Crab-eyed Shetanis, chameleons, thin bent arms and legs




Well known slim figure style with harmonious shape, often showing bare-breasted women which wear a cloth as skirt. This is carved in a fine structure. His early style (right picture) was a bit different showing narrow grooves but the faces have hardly changed.



Felix Mali:

Cubistic style, very typical. As far as I know unique.



Christiano Madanguo:

He had a very rough style of carving without the typical surface finish (polished). He almost only chopped his sculptures. Nevertheless the objects seem perfect and often very harmoneous. As on the Mali sculptures the surface consists of hundreds of facets. His sculptures often show fine tattoo-like lines in their faces. 



Clementi Matei:

Beautiful mask-like faces and floral shapes besides the main sculptures. Surfaces are always perfectly finished.



Mbangwende Morris:

Wonderful mosty small and very abstract Shetani. The eyes, the structural style of the hair (like small dots) and the sculptures style itself make his pieces distintctive.



Nafasi Mpagua:

Often long-eared Shetani with very characteristic prominent eyes. The body is often slightly bent in its middle. be continued soon.