Luba notables used to wear hippo ivory pendants like this one on cords strung across the chest or attached to the arm. They were strung on cords together with other items like amulets and beads. Most probably portrayed respected ancestors and they served as protective amulets. The figure is decorated with concentric circles on the torso, in place of scarification marks, and retains a string of beads round its neck. The figure is well worn, as a result of handling over many years, but can still be seen to sport the nineteenth century coiffure of a high status Luba woman. The gesture of hands on chest suggests devotion and respect.