In Tanzania there are over one hundred and twenty ethnic groups, many of them have their own artistic traditions. Tanzania’s handicraft is rich and diverse in terms of products, volume and variety.
There are 2 broad categories of handicrafts: Home decoration and fashion accessories within a huge variety of products. Utensils made of wood, table mats and decoration items as well as home decoration handicrafts are traded. The most traded fashion accessories are Kikoi, bags, purses, shawls, neck and beachwears. Tanzania has traditional arts, crafts such as repeated fabric pattern, Tinga Tinga painting, and wax resist pattern work.
Tinga Tinga art has roots in decorating hut walls in central and south Tanzania. It was first in 1968 when Edward Said Tinga Tinga started to paint on wooden sheets with enamel colours when Tinga Tinga art became known. Tanzanian craftsmen and artists have created a rich legacy of sculptures, representing abstract images of people, animals and most of all, the famous Makonde carvings, made out of extremely hard ebony (mapingo) wood. There is also a diversified tradition of producing textile art.