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Side-Blown Horn (Mpungi) or (Kithenda)

Arts of Africa

A prominent leader owned this horn. It was blown to announce his arrival at special events and state occasions. The deep red-orange color resulted from repeated applications of palm oil and years of handling.
MEDIUM Ivory, fiber, cloth
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 28 x 3 in. (diam.) (71.1 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of The Roebling Society
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Ivory transverse horn the tip of which is carved in the form of a kneeling figure. The headdress is surmounted by a tall, slightly curved configuration, possibly the head of a reptile. There is a vessel held in each hand, possibly a calabash in right and a cup in the left. The mouth is open and filed teeth are visible. Beneath the figure on the convave side is a rectangular section that is pierced for the blow hole. The hole is oval in shape, and set in a square section that juts out slightly from the tusk. The rest of the tusk constitutes about two-thirds of the total length. The widest part is decorated with an attached sheath of basketweave fiber. Cloth binding is visible under fiber wrapping near end. The horn has a glossy burnished orange patina. CONDITION: Excellent. The bottom edge shows evidence of wear; it is uneven as a result of chipping, one small section on inside curve is mising, and the condition of the edge is extremely fragile.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yombe. Side-Blown Horn (Mpungi) or (Kithenda), 19th century. Ivory, fiber, cloth, 28 x 3 in. (diam.) (71.1 x 7.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, 80.32. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 80.32_SL1_edited.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 80.32_SL1_edited.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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