late 1800s–early 1900s
Overall: 8.6 x 2.3 x 4.5 cm (3 3/8 x 7/8 x 1 3/4 in.)
René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.456
The caramel-colored patina of the ivory indicates the frequent usage of the pendant.
Luba pendants made in ivory or bone were originally suspended on a cord and worn diagonally across the chest of a high-ranking member of society. Often accompanied by amulets, beads, or small antelope horns, they represented ancestral spirits and served as portals to ancestral wisdom and beneficence. Many of these diminutive figurines hold their hands to their breasts as a sign of the secrets and wisdom they contain.
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