Whistle

Whistle

late 1800s

Carved ivory

Overall: 7.3 x 3.2 cm (2 7/8 x 1 1/4 in.)

Educational Purchase Fund 1915.443

Description

Carved out of ivory or wood in a variety of shapes, Chokwe whistles often bear miniature, stylized renderings of masks. Cikunza, the "patron saint" of the boys' initiation into manhood, is depicted with a pointed extension imitating the horn of a road antelope, symbolizing the fertility spirit. Typically such whistles were used by men during the hunt to communicate with their co-hunters and to call their dogs. They were either worn attached to a string as a necklace or tied to a spear.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Ivory
Medium: 
Carved ivory

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