Arts of Africa
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.
3 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (8.3 x 3.2 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
Pendant in the form of a woman; through shoulders are holes for hanging. Head is thrust forward; long neck has three rings stacked one on top of the other. Small circles with dots decorate figure.
This item is not on view
Luba. Pendant, 19th century. Hippopotamus tooth, 3 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (8.3 x 3.2 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1234. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1234_bw.jpg)
left, 22.1234_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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