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Side-Blown Horn (Mpungi) or (Kithenda)

A prominent leader owned this horn, which is carved from an elephant tusk. It was blown to announce his arrival at special events: state occasions, declarations of new alliances or war, assemblies of chiefs, and the marriages and funerals of distinguished people. The surface's deep red-orange color is from repeated applications of palm oil and years of handling.

Catalogue Description:
Ivory transverse horn the tip of which is carved in the form of a kneeling figure. The headdress is surmounted by a tall, slightly curved configuration, possibly the head of a reptile. There is a vessel held in each hand, possibly a calabash in right and a cup in the left. The mouth is open and filed teeth are visible. Beneath the figure on the convave side is a rectangular section that is pierced for the blow hole. The hole is oval in shape, and set in a square section that juts out slightly from the tusk. The rest of the tusk constitutes about two-thirds of the total length. The widest part is decorated with an attached sheath of basketweave fiber. Cloth binding is visible under fiber wrapping near end. The horn has a glossy burnished orange patina. CONDITION: Excellent. The bottom edge shows evidence of wear; it is uneven as a result of chipping, one small section on inside curve is mising, and the condition of the edge is extremely fragile.


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