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Whistle

African Art

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Whistle

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Chokwe Artist, Angola

Date

late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood

Accession #

72.40.128

Dimensions

4 x 1 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 401

Description

Chokwe men use small whistles like this to communicate with one another and with their dogs while hunting. This whistle is decorated with the image of chikunza, a mukanda mask made of barkcloth over an armature of wicker, identifiable by its tall conical headdress. Mukanda is an institution found throughout much of Central Africa, responsible for transmitting religion, art, and social organization from generation to generation. The chikunza masquerade represents a stern, old man, recognized as the father of masks, the father of initiation, and the master of the mukanda lodge, where initiation events take place. Chikunza, as protector of hunters and of women in childbirth, is associated with goodness, plenty, success, and fertility.

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection