Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant
Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant
Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant
Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant
Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant
Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant

Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant

1700 to 1900 Republic of the Congo

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An Ancient African Southeast Congo Songye Carved Ivory Hunting Horn or Oliphant of Abstract Form
Fine old smooth silky dark brown / orange patina
18th – Early 19th Century

Size: 39cm long, 6cm dia. (max) 15¼ ins long, 2¼ ins dia. (max)
See: Finch and Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 100 for a similar bird head Oliphant
cf: White Gold Black Hands Ivory Sculpture in the Congo, Volume 4, edited by Marc L. Felix; 2012, page 230, figure T5, for a very similar example
Often known as side blown trumpets, Oliphant’s are amongst the most widespread worked ivory objects in Africa. The blow-hole is carved on the concave side of the tusk and the tone hole placed at the tip where it can be manipulated by the thumb. The natural shape of this example has been subtly modified to incorporate the belt loophole as the eye of an abstract flying bird. These trumpets were used by the Songye in the deep forest as hunting horns, often when hunting as a group with dogs. They were also used as ‘signalling devices’ and as a directional aid for the dispersed hunters.

Medium
Ivory
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