The Zulu Protector
Clay. 56 x 25 x 23 cm
Herman Wald structured this piece on the geometrical rhythm intrinsic to African sculpture. The hieratic, symmetrical and highly geometrical figure of the Zulu warrior in battle dress, adorned with knee tassels, is seated on a stone in preparedness for war. With the vigorous power of the Zulu man as protector of his family and offspring, he holds his shield over his head, connecting with his ancestors who in turn must protect him. The woman is seated between his legs, her head leaning against him, their silent tension vibrating in concentric body markings. He expresses energy and strength, whereas the woman is passive. She suckles an infant who is standing upright. This sculpture reveals the profound reverence in which Herman Wald held the isiZulu people. The work is indebted to classical African sculpture, the body broken down into flat, rectilinear planes in the warrior, while the woman’s form is more curvilinear emphasizing the breasts and the belly. Wald’s Zulu protector has the aura of an idol, a totem, an African archetype.