Zaramo or Kwere Mwana Hiti Doll, Tanzania
Height: 13.5 cm.
Wonderful patina of long use.
Mwana Hiti, meaning “wooden children”, is the name given to this kind of figurines, which are mainly created by the Zaramo and the Kwere peoples who live in the east of Tanzania.
The latter are crafted and offered to young girls when they reach puberty and are removed from the community for isolation.
Pampered like true children by their female owners, these figurines are dressed, have their hair tufts combed, and are decorated with beads.
This symbolic use materialises the education of young girls to their future role of wife and mother.
At the end of the initiation, an auto-da-fé of clothes and hairs of the figurine is done, which is then deactivated.
Once it is just a doll, it is kept by the mother and sometimes offered to her first daughter.
- Mwana Hiti Kwere Doll
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Region/ country
- early to mid 20th century
- Sold with stand
- 14×6×5 cm