Pendant: Female Half Figure

Date: 19th–20th century

Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Culture: Luba peoples

Medium: Ivory

Dimensions: H. 3 x D. 3/4 x W. 1 in. (7.6 x 1.9 x 2.5 cm)

Classification: Bone/Ivory-Ornaments

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1972

Accession Number: 1978.412.659

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
Ivories 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 ornament's surface is scrubbed daily with water and abrasive sand, which blurs the features over time.
Clark and Frances Stillman, New York, until 1972; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1972–1978

Ross, Doran H. Elephant: The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1992.

Neyt, François. Luba: To the Sources of the Zaire. Paris: Musée Dapper, 1994.

Roberts, Allen F., and Mary Nooter Roberts, eds. Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History. New York: Museum for African Art, New York, 1996.

Luba (35)