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"African Leopard" Serpentine Shona Stone Sculpture Handmade in Zimbabwe!Product DescriptionAn exceptional piece captured in Serpentine stone of an African leopard from Zimbabwe. These pieces are hand sculpted using unsophisticated tools over many hours. The detail in this is tremendous.Hand carved and highly polished leaving a fantastic sheen to the rock surface.Serpentine stone boasts an array of colors that cannot be described. No one stone is alike. The reason for this is the many mineral inclusions within the stone giving its unique color variation. The name "Serpentine" comes from an association with the characteristics of a serpents skin. Serpentine is the most commonly used stone because of the varying hardness for both master sculptors, as well as his apprentice. Serpentine rates between 2.5 to 5.5, depending on mineral inclusions, on the universally used Mohs hardness scale,a diamond rates at 10.Read more about Shona sculpture below and how it is unique to Zimbabwe.Gallery retail on this would be over $1200.Weighs approx. 10.9 lbs.Measures approx. 13 inches long by 9 inches high and 4 inches deep. Thanks for looking and helping to support the artists.African LeopardFrom Wikipedia:TheAfrican Leopard(Panthera pardus pardus) is aleopardsubspecies occurring across most ofsub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, theIUCNclassified leopards asNear Threatened, stating that they may soon qualify for theVulnerablestatus due to habitat loss and fragmentation. They are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. The trend of the population is decreasing.Characteristics and geographical variationAfrican leopards exhibit great variation in coat color, depending on location and habitat. Coat color varies from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny, and is patterned with black rosettes while the head, lower limbs and belly are spotted with solid black. Male leopards are larger, averaging 60kg (130lb) with 91kg (200lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb) in average.Between 1996 and 2000, 11 adult leopards were radio-collared onNamibianfarmlands. Males weighed 37.5 to 52.3 kg (83 to 115 lb) only, and females 24 to 33.5 kg (53 to 74 lb).Leopards inhabiting the mountains of theCape Provincesappear physically different from leopards further north. Their average weight may be only half that of the more northerly leopard.Genetic analyses indicate, that all African leopards are closely related and could represent only one single subspecies (Panthera pardus pardus). However, this might be an underestimate, resulting from limited sampling.Traditionally the following subspecies are distinguished in Africa:Abyssinian LeopardP. p. adusta(Pocock, 1927),Ethiopian HighlandsBarbary leopardP. p. panthera(Schreber, 1777), North AfricaCape leopardP. p. melanotica(Günther, 1775), Southern AfricaCentral African leopardP. p. pardus(Linnaeus, 1758),Sudanand northeasternDemocratic Republic of CongoEast African leopardP. p. suahelica(Neumann, 1900),East AfricaRuwenzori leopardP. p. ruwenzori(Camerano, 1906),RuwenzoriandVirungaMountainsSomali leopardP. p. nanopardus(1904), Arid zones ofSomaliaWest African forest leopardP. p. leopardus(Schreber, 1777), Rain forests of Western and Central AfricaWest African leopardP. p. reichenowi(Cabrera 1927), Savannas ofCameroonZanzibar leopardP. p. adersi(Pocock, 1932),Unguja Island,ZanzibarDistribution and habitatLeopard in theSerengeti,TanzaniaLeopard with kill in tree in Limpopo, South AfricaAfrican leopards used to occur in most ofsub-Saharan Africa, occupying bothrainforestand ariddeserthabitats. They were found in all habitats with annual rainfall above 50mm (2.0in), and can penetrate areas with less than this amount of rainfall along river courses. They range exceptionally up to 5,700m (18,700ft), have been sighted on high slopes of theRuwenzoriandVirungavolcanoes, and observed when drinking thermal water37 °C(99°F)in theVirunga National Park.They appear to be successful at adapting to altered natural habitat and settled environments in the absence of intense persecution. There were many records of their presence near major cities. But already in the 1980s, they have become rare throughout much ofWest Africa.Now, they remain patchily distributed within historical limits.InNorth Africa, a tinyrelict populationpersists in theAtlas MountainsofMorocco.African leopards inhabited a wide range of habitats withinAfrica, from mountainous forests to grasslands and savannahs, excluding only extremely sandy desert. They are most at risk in areas of semi-desert, where scarce resources often result in conflict with nomadic farmers and their livestock.Ecology and behaviorLeopard inEtosha National ParkMale leopard inSamburuLeopards are generally most active between sunset and sunrise, and kill morepreyat this time.InKruger National Park, male leopards and female leopards with cubs were relatively more active at night than solitary females. The highest rates of daytime activity were recorded for leopards using thorn thickets during the wet season, when impala also used them.They have an exceptional ability to adapt to changes in prey availability, and have a very broad diet. Small prey are taken where largeungulatesare less common. The known prey of leopards ranges fromdung beetlesto adultelands, which can reach 900kg (2,000lb).In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 92 prey species have been documented in their diet includingrodents,birds, small and largeantelopes,hyraxesandhares, andarthropods. They generally focus their hunting activity on locally abundant medium-sized ungulate species in the 20 to 80 kg (44 to 180 lb) range, while opportunistically taking other prey. Average intervals between ungulate kills range from sevento 12–13 days.In theSerengeti National Park, leopards were radio-collared for the first time in the early 1970s. Their hunting at night was difficult to watch; the best time for observing them was after dawn. Of their 64 daytime hunts only three were successful. In this woodland area, they preyed mostly onimpala, both adult and young, and caught someThomson's gazellesin the dry season. Occasionally, they successfully huntedwarthog,dik-dik,reedbuck,duiker,steenbok,wildebeestandtopicalves,jackal,hare,guinea fowlandstarling. They were less successful in huntingzebras,kongonis,giraffes,mongooses,genets,hyraxand small birds. Scavenging from the carcasses of large animals made up a small proportion of their food.Intropical rainforestinCentral Africa, their diet consists ofduikersand smallprimates. Some individual leopards have shown a strong preference forpangolinsandporcupines.Leopards often cache large kills in trees, a behavior for which great strength is required. There have been several observations of leopards hauling carcasses of younggiraffe, estimated to weigh up to 125kg (280lb), i.e. 2–3 times the weight of the leopard, up to 5.7m (19ft) into trees.Their diet includesreptiles, and they will occasionally take domesticlivestockwhen other food is scarce. Leopards are very stealthy and like to stalk close and run a relatively short distance after their prey. They kill through suffocation by grabbing their prey by the throat and biting down with their powerful jaws. They rarely fight other predators for their food.ThreatsThroughout Africa, the major threats to leopards are habitat conversion and intense persecution, especially in retribution for real and perceived livestock loss.Leopard in West Africa (border betweenGuineaandSenegal)The impact oftrophy huntingon populations is unclear, but may have impacts at the demographic and population level, especially when females are shot. InTanzania, only males are allowed to be hunted, but females comprised 28.6% of 77 trophies shot between 1995 and 1998.Removing an excessively high number of males may produce a cascade of deleterious effects on the population. Although male leopards provide no parental care to cubs, the presence of the sire allows mothers to raise cubs with a reduced risk of infanticide by foreign males. There are few reliable observations of infanticide in leopards but new males entering the population are likely to kill existing cubs.Analysis of leopard scats andcamera trappingsurveys in contiguous forest landscapes in theCongo Basinrevealed a high dietary niche overlap and an exploitative competition between leopards andbushmeathunters. With increasing proximity to settlements and concomitant human hunting pressure, leopards exploit smaller prey and occur at considerably reduced population densities. In the presence of intensive bushmeat hunting surrounding human settlements, leopards appear entirely absent.Shona ArtFrom Wikipedia:Shona artis contemporary stone sculpture fromZimbabwe. African stone sculpture is not traditional, although much of its subject matter has traditional roots. The art movement began around 1956 and was initiated byFrank McEwenwho at the time was the Director of The National Gallery of Rhodesia.During its early years of growth, it was described as an art renaissance, an art phenomenon and a miracle. Critics and collectors could not understand how an art genre had developed with such vigour, spontaneity and originality in an area of Africa which had none of the great sculptural heritage of West Africa and had previously been described in terms of the visual arts as artistically barren.Fifteen years of sanctions against the country obscured works from the Western world (apart from highly acclaimed exhibitions organised by Frank Mc Ewen in major museums such as Musee dArt Moderne, Paris; Musee Rodin, Paris; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London). Yet these years also witnessed the honing of technical skills, the deepening of expressive power, the use of harder and different stones and the creation of many outstanding works.Since independence in 1980, the sculpture has been exhibited in the art capitals of the world and great acclaim h