Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pendant: Figure

20th century
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Pende peoples
H. 2 1/2 x W. 1 1/8 x D. 5/8 in. (6.4 x 2.8 x 1.6 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
The Central Pende peoples replicate masks in miniature form. Wooden versions produced by healing specialists are prescribed by diviners as remedies. In contrast, their ivory counterparts, gikhokho, are made by professional sculptors to be worn as decorative pendants. While its texture and resistance to cracking make elephant ivory the material of choice, the thighbones of hippopotamuses allow artists to achieve comparable effects. Bodily contact through wear alters the whiteness of the pendants. Although this effect is prized by Western collectors, the Pende themselves scrub the ornament's surface daily with water and abrasive sand, which blurs the features over time.
Paul Guillaume, Paris, until (d.) 1934; Dr. Charles Stéphen-Chauvet, Brussels, Belgium, until 1950; [Julius Carlebach Gallery, New York, until 1952]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York,1952, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1978

Ezra, Kate. African Ivories. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984.

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