Domboshawa Bird


Domboshawa Bird

Domboshawa is a village north of Harare, Zimbabwe.  The village is named after a large granite hill near the village and there are several rock formations at the top of the hill which have been created by natural erosion.  One of these ‘balancing’ rocks is known as The Whale, because of its whale like shape.  The hill and rocks are covered with lichen, which at Domboshawa is red, green or grey.

Dombo-shawa is a Shona word derived from Dombo, meaning rock or stone, and shawa meaning red.

The hill is a National Monument in Zimbabwe and has some examples of cave paintings which date back almost 6000 years.

Bird sculpture carved in serpentine stone

Domboshawa Bird is carved in a white serpentine from Domboshawa and is sprinkled with pink and rusty-red colouring.  It is a lovely thought that Bird might be partially covered by markings from the red lichen, or camouflaged within it – but actually I think it is the iron minerals in the serpentine stone.





  1. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    another lovely bird

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thanks Ellen – unusual stone – had some really hard granite type crystal bits in it to surprise me!

  2. Comment by Alistair Park:

    How did you come to have this interesting piece of stone? Was it bought, given to you or is there another story behind it? Beautiful bird form too.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I bought the stone, along with other pieces of serpentine, and also a small block of Butterjade which waits for attention. It is always lovely to know where a piece of stone I’m working comes from – if I were nearer the Zimbabwe Great Dyke I would go to the mines to see my sculpture blocks being extracted, and explore the many other colours of stone there.

  3. Comment by Alistair Park:

    Butterjade sounds amazing! I hope that you enjoy carving it and get to visit the mines one day.
    I did see a marble quarry outside Elvas in Portugal once whilst hitching along a nearby road – the memory is of huge, straight faces of cut stone plunging down into the ground in an open quarry. It looked a bit like some kind of gigantic monument or sci-fi city. I wonder what those Zimbabwean mines look like?

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Lucky you at Elvas – a trip to Carrara is another on my list. Some of the limestone quarries in the uk are as you describe – awe-insiring! The mines are open-cast and small operations, the stone being excavated by hand

  4. Comment by Anna:

    What a lovely sculpture and beautiful material!
    Amazing to come across this, because I want to go to Zimbabwe. Are you living and working in UK or do you also have a connection with Zim?

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Anna – yes a really beautiful stone. I came across it through the team of carvers from Zimbabwe who visit Newby Hall, North Yorkshire. Yes, I live and work in the UK, my connection is through a love of Zim’s very exotic and wondrous stones and sculpture. Your courses/workshops/retreats (Reconnect Inspiration) look wonderful – I’m so tempted by your alabaster carving one – though Pietrasanta is also on the ‘must do’ list!

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