This magnificent hand carved, African Cape Buffalo recently came out of a villa in Villefranche Sur Mer, France. It would have originally been carved in Africa in the late 1800’s, turn of the century. During this time, there was a market for creating handmade goods for French colonialists living in Africa. Carvings included a variety of Africa’s famous animals and were produced in a variety of sizes.
The antique Cape Buffalo seen here is one of the larger carvings of this type that can be found today. It was carved from one a single piece of African desert hardwood, sometimes referred to as “Ironwood” or “Leadwood”. The wood is extremely dense, heavy, and difficult to carve. Despite the hardness of the wood, it has been intricately carved with excellent proportion and subtle detailing. The buffalo measures nearly 41 inches long and weighs 101 lbs.
The great Cape Buffalo is one Africa’s “big five” animals. It prefers a densely covered habitat, living in swamps and floodplains. It has patches of bare skin so they spend lots of time wallowing in mud holes so as not to get sunburned. The lighter areas on this sculpture depict the losses of hair. In 19th century Western Europe, depictions of African wildlife in art became synonymous with the growing popularity of exploration and travel to Africa.
This large, hand carved Cape Buffalo will go well in a gentlemen’s library, great room, ranch property, or anywhere a large and important sculpture or statue is needed.
CONDITION: Good overall antique condition with some old splits to wood, repairs, and minor losses.