The Fabric of Society

Timed Online Auction, 18 May - 1 June 2022

Textile Auction

Sold for

ZAR 3 518
Lot 40
  • Artist Unrecorded; N'wana (Child Figure)
  • Artist Unrecorded; N'wana (Child Figure)
  • Artist Unrecorded; N'wana (Child Figure)
  • Artist Unrecorded; N'wana (Child Figure)


Lot Estimate
ZAR 2 000 - 3 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 3 518

About this Item

Artist Unrecorded
20th Century
N'wana (Child Figure)
mixed media with glass beads, thread, buttons and textile
height: 18cm; diameter: 21cm

Notes

Tsonga-Shangaan.

"Once a girl has passed through vukhumba (initiation) a doll can be made for her. The hahani (paternal aunt) creates the doll or has one made. The girl is allowed to carry it around as a sign of her newly acquired status. It is said that the doll completes her and makes her look more beautiful (ku bomba) ...

In many families the making of the doll is postponed until marriage and only handed over to the bride when her in-laws have come 'to ask for water' (ku kombela mati), that is: they have come to fetch her. Sometimes n'wana is displayed to the relatives of the groom when the final ndzovolo (lobola) payment is formally presented. The presence of the doll confirms that its 'mother' has been fully prepared through initiation and discussions with her aunt and older female relatives. She is ready for her new home."

Jean-Marie Dederen (2007) 'Toy or Treasure? Exploring N'wana, The Tsonga 'Doll'', in Nessa Leibhammer (ed) Dungamanzi: Stirring Waters, Johannesburg: Wits University Press and Johannesburg Art Gallery, page 111.

A copy of the book Nessa Leibhammer (ed) (2007) Dungamanzi: Stirring Waters, Johannesburg: Wits University Press and Johannesburg Art Gallery, accompanies the lot.

Provenance

The Natalie Knight Collection, collected by Natalie Knight and Billy Makhubele in the field.



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