Carved out of ivory or wood in a variety of shapes, Chokwe whistles often bear miniature, stylized renderings of masks. Cikunza, the "patron saint" of the boys' initiation into manhood, is depicted with a pointed extension imitating the horn of a road antelope, symbolizing the fertility spirit. Typically such whistles were used by men during the hunt to communicate with their co-hunters and to call their dogs. They were either worn attached to a string as a necklace or tied to a spear.

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  • Title: Whistle
  • Date Created: late 1800s
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 5.7 x 3.2 cm (2 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.)
  • Type: Musical Instrument
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1915.442
  • Medium: Probably hippopotamus ivory
  • Department: African Art
  • Culture: Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo or Angola, Chokwe people, late 19th century
  • Credit Line: Educational Purchase Fund
  • Collection: African Art
  • Accession Number: 1915.442

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