H: 6 cm (approx. 2”)
Compare: Christie’s, Art D’Afrique et Oceanie, Paris, June 23, 2016, lot 275
Provenance: Formerly part of an old Belgian collection; reported to have been collected before 1910
The Pende people are an ethnic group living in the southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Pende carve numerous types of masks, most of which are associated with education and initiation rituals. Wooden figures are sculpted in the northwest part of the territory. Carved stools, staffs, musical instruments, chairs, and swords are used by chiefs and other important people to signify their power. These small amulets called “Ikhoko”, miniature replicas of the great Pende masks, are well known and particularly appreciated by collectors. They are made of ivory, bone, wood, or seeds according to their use. Worn around the neck, they function as protective and healing amulets. Here we have an example carved from ivory, scarifications on the head and old patina.