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African Huts with Nguni Cattle on a Decoupage Ostrich Egg

Traditional  African Village Decoupage Ostrich Egg
Traditional African Village Decoupage Ostrich Egg
Item# DOS58
$95.00

Product Description

Traditional  African Village Decoupage Ostrich Egg

Size:
Width: 6 inches
Length: 6 inches
Height: 9 inches

Hand Crafted & Hand Painted By Africans

This decoupage egg has been decorated with a close up of a rural family village, their huts and cattle, the overall colors of the egg is red. Decoupage is the art of cutting and pasting cutouts to simulate paintings on a wood, metal, glass or in this case egg surface. First the egg is sanded so the natural dimples in the egg have been smoothed out, then the animals are painstakingly glued to the egg, then the layers of lacquer are applied with the egg having to dry between each application of lacquer. To achieve the high gloss finish the eggs are lightly sanded between every few layers of lacquer. This egg has about fifty layers of lacquer. The African craftsmen have taken it one step further and made it a unique art form. This beautiful ostrich egg has been hand decorated with the African rural village. This piece is an amazing addition to any house or office.

The Hut

Huts are usually round, with a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, with a wooden structure to support the building, and a single wooden pole in the center, which supports the grass-thatched roof.

While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is reason to believe that the architectural choices made by the Africans thus far are neither as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived outside. A shelter is needed only for the night, against the cold and as shelter from wild animals.. There was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of shelter would have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers were often away from home for long periods without having shelter.

Huts are often small, and made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials and labor. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the thatching of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is referred to as a manyatta.

In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated and renewed once a year, after the harvest season and before the next rains. This was the period with the least work and was like a holiday. The harvest was in, and next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering with a new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-colored river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside and outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities that had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung and mud, or ash.

Huts are very comfortable and exactly right for many parts of Africa. This is mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay and grass are good insulators, but are porous, and so allow a free flow of air. It is often very hot during the afternoons in Africa. The hut remains cool and is a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inhabitants warm. Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day with a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.

The Africans knew that a long time ago. Huts, made of natural 'earth' materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, and only in the amounts that were needed. For example, calabashes and gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.

Water stored in a clay pot has a pleasant, natural coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an additional woody flavor. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven from rushes.

Nguni Cattle

The Nguni cattle breed is indigenous to southern Africa. A hybrid of indigenous and Indian cattle they were introduced by the Bantu tribes of southern Africa from the north of the continent. They are medium sized, adapted to grazing on the highveld.

Nguni cattle are known for their fertility and resistance to diseases, being the favorite breed amongst the indigenous Bantu people of Southern Africa. They are characterized by their multicolored skin, which can present many different patterns, but their noses are always black-tipped. They are principal form of Sanga cattle, which originated as hybrids of Zebu and humpless cattle in East Africa. Protein analyses have shown that they are a combination of Zebu and Bos taurus, the European and indigenous African species. They are characterized by low cervico-thoracic humps, in the front of the front lets, instead of the high thoracic humps of the pure Zebu. Besides the various color patterns, these animals present a variety of horn shapes. All different combinations were catalogued in the beginning of the century by a South African herd-master. This work inspired the Nguni Cattle Register, a compilation of terms to describe in full a Nguni cow or bull. The cattle are medium sized.

The ancestors of Nguni cattle were brought by the Xhosa, Zulu and Swazi people, during their migration to Southern Africa between 600 and 1400 AD. Since then, these animals have played an important social and economic role in the development of these societies and are used as a bride's dowry. The number of animals held by a village or individual determined much of their importance to the rest of the world. King Shaka of the Zulus understood this cultural and economic importance and seized control of the Nguni herds on his dominions. Shaka also bred the Ngunis according to color patterns in order to produce skins for the several regiments of his army, henceforward recognized by them. His elite personal guard was recognized by pure white, from animals of the royal herd.

All about Egg decoration.

The decorating of eggs (eggery) is a time honored tradition that has been around for hundreds of years.
Eggery is the art of decorating hatchery shells in the style of the famous Faberge egg. Carl Faberge, the father of modern-day egg decorating, used precious metals such as silver, gold, copper and nickel to construct an egg-shaped figure, then decorated them with rubies, diamonds and emeralds.

Over the last 3 centuries many cultures have developed endless methods of decorating eggs. The Moravian and Ukrainian (Pysanky) batik-designed egg patterned geometric fantasies, and their designs differ according to region or origin.

The practice of decorating ostrich eggs dates back centuries, and originated with the San or Bushmen who live in dessert regions, for them the egg symbolizes life, not just because an egg is a sign of fertility, but because the eggs were used as vessels to carry and store water, which in itself is life sustaining but when in a dessert region critical.

The custom of decorating eggs has many associations. The art of eggery did not begin with the Easter egg, although we don't know who the first decorator was, we do know that painted eggs as edible gifts were given by a Chinese chieftain in 722 B.C. to celebrate spring fertility festivals.

About the Ostrich.

The ostrich Struthio camelus is a large flightless bird native to Africa (and formerly the Middle East). It is the only living species of its family. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at speeds of about 74 km/h (46 mph), the top land speed of any bird. The ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest egg of any bird species.

The diet of the ostrich mainly consists of plant matter, though ostriches do eat insects. The ostrich lives in nomadic groups which contain between five and 50 birds. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or will run away. If cornered, it can cause injury and death with a kick from its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.

Ostriches are oviparous. The females will lay their fertilized eggs in a single communal nest, a simple pit, 30 to 60 cm (12–24 in) deep and 3m (9.8 ft) wide, scraped in the ground by the male. The eggs are glossy and cream in color, with thick shells marked by small pits. The eggs are incubated by the females by day and by the male by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is nearly undetectable in the night.

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