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African wood carving is strongly linked to its creators and the tribe to which they belong. Specifically, the tribe to which the carving artist belongs gives each style of carving its name.
Therefore, if we say that a piece of furniture or an African carving is part of Maasai African tribal art, this implies that the type of carving belongs to the Maasai tribe. And that a number of elements specific to this style are found in this style.
The style is recognisable by the elements that express family life in the tribe, which is clearly part of African culture. Whether it is in pieces of luxury furniture carved from solid wood or decorative African carvings, the human being is also constantly present in relation to other members of the family. Sometimes he is also shown alongside animals, if the story the carving artist is telling is from the realm of myth and fable, but whatever the size and utility of the object, man is not absent. And the elements are always carved in 3D, deep into the piece of wood, regardless of its size.
One difference between the Maasai and Makonde styles is the arrangement of the figures, which in the Maasai style of carving are somewhat more orderly and less naked than the Makonde figures.
However, what makes these styles similar is stronger than what differentiates them, as both tribes are among the most representative of African tribal art.