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Ebony Wood Info

Scientific Name: Dalbergia Melanoxylon
African Name: Mpingo
English Name: African Blackwood
Commonly Known Name: EBONY


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Ebony is an exceptionally hard and beautiful wood, found in the Sahara desert regions of Africa. Its exceptional density not only makes it very heavy, but also gives it an incomparable sheen when polished.

The Ebony is extremely expensive, ranging in $50+ per square foot. Compare this to the finest American black walnut which costs less than 1/10 the price of blackwood.

Makonde carving is probably the best known art work produced in Tanzania, East Africa. This art is produced by the Makonde people of southern Tanzania, and their material of choice is African blackwood, or mpingo. Their work is both traditional and contemporary, reflecting a tribal past as well as modern response to urban life. They utilize their tribal myths and stories as inspiration for the masterful work.


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Ebony normally is brown on the outside of the tree; and black on the inside. The carvings often come as a beautiful mixture of black and brown; as well as the pure blackwood that is most well known. Each has its own special beauty. Like any wood, ebony is subject to drying and cracking: especially in dry climates.


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