About this object

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.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Ornament
  • Culture
    Luba
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Central Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Date made
    19th Century late; 20th Century early
  • Materials
    Hippopotamus Tooth Ivory
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, World Cultures
  • Acquisition
    Purchase from Gallery Menist, 1966
  • Collector
    Gallery Menist
  • Place collected
    Africa: Central Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Date collected
    1966 before
  • Measurements
    95 mm x 27 mm x 27 mm
  • Note
    Stockbook: 2. Baluba Ivory Amulet. Gallery Menist, 1 Hartenstraat, Amsterdam C, Netherlands. Purchase. Gallery Label: Luba used to wear hippo ivory pendants like this one on cords strung across the chest. They served as protective amulets and may have portrayed respected ancestors.
  • Related people
    Gallery Menist ( Collector)
Object view = Humanities
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