Item: Zaramo Mwana Hiti Figure Specifications: 21 x 5 x 5 cm Origin: Tanzania (see ethnographic notes below) Medium: Timber Carving & Pigment
Context: Mwana hiti figures are found among of a number of peoples in Tanzania. Mwana hiti are also called trunk figures, and depict in a highly stylized way the torso of a female figure. The name has been translated as "daughter of the throne" or "female chile of the one who is enthroned". The figure is said to be both male and female. Male because of the general phallic shape and female because of the breasts. Mwana hiti figures are given to a girl by her father's sister when it is time for her to begin the seclusion as a part of her initiation.
African Origins, based in Melbourne, Australia since 1997, Online Tribal Art Gallery