These pendants carved from hippopotamus teeth were strung on cords with beads and amulets. The gesture of the hands on the breasts signifies divination, respect, and the containment of royal secrets.
The pendants are portraits, or at least likenesses, of certain revered ancestors, who are named and honored. Devotees have rubbed the figures with oil in homage to these ancestors, creating a smooth, rich color and lustrous surface.
This text refers to these objects: ' 22.1235; 22.1234
- Culture: Luba
- Medium: Hippopotamus tooth
- Place Made: Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dates: 19th century
- Dimensions: 3 3/4 x 1 x 1 1/4 in. (9.5 x 2.5 x 3.2 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 22.1235
- Credit Line: Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Luba. Pendant, 19th century. Hippopotamus tooth, 3 3/4 x 1 x 1 1/4 in. (9.5 x 2.5 x 3.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1235. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Pendant with slightly curved torso, carved in the round from a hippopotamus tooth. Face is oval-shaped; eyes, oval and closed; and nose, triangular. From back, headdress is flat with large cross carved in relief. Neck composed of three stacked folds or rings. Arms are close to body; hands hold breasts. Two curved projections extend from bottom of figure on each side. Wooden core is inserted in hollowed-out bottom of figure. Slight discoloration in center of torso; small check on top of head. Below neck area a hole pierces entire object for suspension.
- Record Completeness: Best (87%)