Eight hundred years ago, at the Late Iron Age archaeological site of Mapungubwe, a member of the royal family was laid to rest, and within the grave was placed a little rhino, 15cm long and made of pure gold. This compelling artwork speaks through time, and as an artist I see its significance not only as a symbol of the rich cultural legacy of Africa, but, as it was not a fragment of horn or body part but a complete rhino, it thereby embodies a deeper connection with, and reverence for this magnificent animal of Africa. It could be said that this gold rhino linked these people to the land through a sacred thread of belonging. It speaks to me, and offers a signpost to something that we might have forgotten but fortunately not lost; for it can remind us that the natural world around us is much more than a commodity, a space or a view, it is an intrinsic part of who we are and where we have come from, and each rhino killed or tract of land destroyed is another part of ourselves lost. This little gold rhino makes visible the deep connection we have with the natural world, a connection which sustains our souls, and reminds us to tread more lightly upon the earth.
Mapungubwe Revisited speaks to these thoughts which slowly evolved as I created the sculpture in the studio. As an artist I could no longer remain silent as rhino after rhino was brutally killed, but instead of the terrible sadness, my focus and attention was rather a celebration of the rhino, with my inspiration coming from the original sculpture found at Mapungubwe.
In effect Mapungubwe Revisited speaks to two artist’s working eight hundred years apart, observing the distance between the societies in which we both live, and how our reverence for the natural world has been lost.
My vision with this sculpture is that each individual casting of Mapungubwe Revisited will not only raise vital funds to support WWF-SA and its important work, but that each sculpture will carry with it the message that is interwoven into its creation, and that the owners of each piece will be able to share this story with their friends and visitors as they view the sculpture.
WWF-SA press release- Press Release 2012
“Noel and Belinda Ashton’s Mapungubwe Revisited is a brilliant initiative to honour the rhino. The reverence of the ancient people for this wonderful animal is a sharp reminder to so-called civilised man to ensure that the species survives in our modern world.” Dr Ian Player
Mapungubwe Revisited was officially launched at the Mapungubwe Museum, University of Pretoria on 19th September 2012. The launch event was sponsored by HSBC Africa, with an opening address by Mavuso Msimang. Guests at the launch event were introduced to the original gold rhino by Sian Tiley-Nel, Chief Curator of the Mapungubwe Museum.
Mapungubwe Revisited Bronze Edition
Edition size 100
Price ZAR 15,000.00
Zimbabwean black granite base
Dimensions H 190mm, W 300mm, D 110mm
Edition certification with each sculpture
The price excludes international postage
The plaque can include your corporate/personal logo
Production time at the foundry between 8 - 10 weeks
Mapungubwe Revisited Gold-leaf Edition
Edition size 12
Price ZAR 35,000.00
To purchase a sculpture
Mapungubwe Revisited Contact Form
Watch the video
See the launch event
The Mapungubwe Museum
WWF Rhino Programme