The people known as Nyamwezi are a large, loosely connected agrarian group. It was on the coast that they were given the name 'Nyamwezi', meaning 'people of the west' (sometimes translated as 'people of the moon'). Because of the extensive size and ethnic diversity of Nyamwezi the art from this area shows considerable variation in style. Ancestors and chiefs have been of considerable importance in the belief system and socio-political structure of the Nyamwezi, and consequently most of their art relates to these themes: theirs is one of the richest traditions in Tanzania. These figures are a pair of dance puppets used in performances during various festivals.
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