This expertly carved sculpture of an impala was hand hewn from a block of African walnut. The impala is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa; this carving comes from the Republic of Zambia. It is signed on the base, incised with the name Mutama, a city in the Central Province; Mutama is also a common surname there. The artist is unidentified but certainly talented.
Sculptures of African antelopes are common; many of them very basic, almost crudely carved, with a lack of detail and a stiffness of pose that does not resemble the living animal. This large carving, however, shows the impala poised to leap, perhaps scenting a predator, with the curves of his muscles implied under the satiny surface of the beautifully grained dark hardwood. Details such as the hooves, eyes, mouth and ears were carefully carved, while the soaring, lyre-shaped and ringed horns are realistically portrayed. The base he stands on has a rough surface like the ground of the savannah.
This sculpture stands 15 inches tall to the tips of his horns and measures 10 inches nose to tail on a semi-oval base about 8 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches. It weighs a bit over 2 pounds and is solid and sturdy. This handsome African artwork looks great as a stand-alone or part of a grouping.