Oliphant (Side-Blown Trumpet)

late 1800s–early 1900s
Location: not on view
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Kongo Kingdom rulers sent ornately carved large side-blown trumpets to Europe as diplomatic gifts during the sixteenth century.


Side-blown trumpets were used on various occasions, and ivory examples seem to have been reserved for more solemn circumstances, such as funerals. As the mouthpiece is located on the inner curve, the person who played this instrument held it horizontally. A seated male Yombe ruler wearing a shell necklace and a European-style cloak and hat is carved on top. His blended dress shows how Yombe people (a Kongo sub-group) selectively adopted elements of foreign dress to wear with their own fashions.
Oliphant (Side-Blown Trumpet)

Oliphant (Side-Blown Trumpet)

late 1800s–early 1900s

Africa, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (most likely), Cabinda, or Republic of the Congo, probably Yombe-style maker

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