Pendant mask (gikhokho)

late 19th or early 20th century

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, United States

Pende men and women wear miniature replicas of the masks (sing. gikhokho, pl. ikhokho) used in village masquerades and healing rituals. Those carved from elephant ivory and hippopotamus bone-the preferred material being ivory-are worn as jewelry and considered prime aesthetic objects that enhance their owner's sense of beauty and style (ginango). Pendant mask replicas are suspended from cords or strings of beads and worn around the neck.(46)

Close contact with the owner's sweaty and red camwood-covered skin discolored this mask to an undesirable quality. To maintain the natural color of the ivory, owners wash their pendant masks as a part of their daily toilet. Because it was scrubbed with fine sand, the once sharply carved facial features of this mask have almost disappeared.

The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art, cat. 97, pp. 254-255.


46. Strother, in Phillips, Tom, ed. Africa: The Art of a Continent. London: Royal Academy of Arts; Munich: Prestel, 1995. p. 262, cat. no. 4.32.


  • Title: Pendant mask (gikhokho)
  • Date Created: late 19th or early 20th century
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 1 7/8 x 1 1/4 x 7/8 in. (4.763 x 3.18 x 2.2 cm)
  • Type: Jewelry
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/4169682/
  • Medium: Ivory
  • culture: Pende peoples
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, gift of Eugene and Margaret McDermott

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