Suku peoples

Not on view

This anthropomorphic whistle features a fully carved head and neck extending at one extremity; it was carved from a single piece of wood. Two stylized faces and additional geometric patterns are engraved at front and back of the instrument's body. The wood is covered with black pigment or dye that exhibits variations where the whistle has been handled. A more recently added surface layer gives it its shiny finish.
The whistle’s decorative program is at the confluence of an array of culture groups located in southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola, among which are the Yaka, Suku, Mbala, and Chokwe peoples. The overall oblong shape of the body, from which extend short side protrusions and modulating holes, is typical of whistles found among the Yaka and Suku, known as ndemba; the head, however, is unusual and the coiffure relates to the neighboring Mbala. Another unusual characteristic is the extent of incised decorations on the body, including striations and stylized faces, which echo motifs found on Chokwe drums and thumb-pianos.

Whistle, Wood, Suku peoples

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