Vintage African Tribal Sets

.A fine group of classic 1950's African Chess sets all hand carved.  Various thematic chess sets.

The European marketplace for Makonde arts through Portuguese colonization. Norman Kirk was impressed by the work of the Makonde artist Likenikeni Sabini after seeing his workshop in the 1950s at Ndanda mission. After this visit he began purchasing and exporting Makonde art to Europe. Kirk enticed Sabini work and to come for him at his plantation. At some point Kirk initiated generation of chess sets and the product became popular in the 1960s. The pieces in the chess set were based on the chidiu, a traditional bottle stopper. This took the form of a human head with Makonde facial scarification.

After Kirk's death in 1969 a group of carvers who had formerly provided Kirk continued to carve chess sets. This group was centred on the hamlet of Ziwani near Mtwara. Several new themes were developed by this group including the seated smoker set, the drummer set, as well as the bird set. Scarification marks are usually omitted on modern pieces

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