We love African wood species and if a product is made by local crafts persons it is all that more special to us. This bowl is made from Black Ivory (Mpingo) a very scarce wood with a naturally high oil content, it is a much sought after wood for blow instruments like clarinets, favored for its stability and beautiful appearance. We have enquired about the source of the wood and were informed its from an area where they cultivate the tree in a sustainable manner, as Malawi is not around the corner we could not pop in and verify this, but we will be making some more enquiries and are doing our best to make sure all timber we use is sourced sustainably. Each piece is made with basic tools and then carved by hand, some imperfections might be present on the bowl, but we'd much rather see this valuable resource used in every possible way and get it in your hands, than insist on spotless, very expensive creations. There are two beasties on either side of the bowl, usually a different animal. We will stock these in two sizes, and will be offering matching brushes in the near future.