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Miniature figure, "mwana hiti" from Kwere, Tanzania

Carved wood. H 13 cm.
- Swiss private collection, Zurich.


Figures called "mwana hiti" were lovingly cared for by girls during initiation, and served as personal protective figures for them after completion of initiation.

mwana hiti (literally "child of wood") figures always consist of a stylised cylindrical female torso on which a prominent head rests. 


Their size is variable, with only a few exceptions measuring more than 10 cm, and they may be embellished with beads and hair belonging to the owner.

The object is passed down from generation to generation, through a maternal aunt.


Miniature figure, "mwana hiti", Tanzania