Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Female figure made of soapstone.

  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 41.6 centimetres
    • Width: 9.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 6.1 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Jones 1990
    This is one of three well-carved soapstone figures in a closely similar style which have been associated with the site of Great Zimbabwe, the most impressive of a series of related historical settlements in southern Africa. They recall a set of very much larger soapstone columns, some surmounted by carvings of birds. These were only discovered and documented in the last century, but are of greater antiquity. This example (and others similar) are, however, unique in their smaller scale, unabraded surfaces and well-defined anthropomorphic features. All lack any firm documentation. There is therefore, a possibility that they are not from Great Zimbabwe, as the British Museum's acquisition details written down from the vendor in the 1920s suggest, and they may have been carved in imitation of the soapstone columns at the site specifically for sale.


  • Bibliography

    • Jones 1990a 330 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2006-2007 16 Nov- 11 Feb, BM Room 35; The Past from Above: Through the lens of Georg Gerster

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: EAF41000

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