H: 13 cm (approx. 5”)
Estimated age: end of the 19th century
Provenance: Austrian private collection
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.