late 1800s


Overall: 8.9 x 3.8 cm (3 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)

Educational Purchase Fund 1915.454



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
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Musical Instrument

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