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Early 20th C. African Pende Wooden Pestle w/ Two Heads

Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pende peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A fabulous and lengthy pestle, hand-carved from hard wood, depicting a set of Janiform faces just beneath a cylindrical pounding head. Each face is comprised of almond-shaped eyes with projecting pupils, perky ears, triangular noses, pursed lips, and rounded chins, all beneath heart-shaped brow lines and wide, rounded foreheads. The body of the pestle is slightly flared beneath the pair of faces and gently tapers to an indented midsection before terminating in a rounded tip. Both the handle and midsection are covered in smooth layers of caramel, coffee, and wheat-hued patina, and the faces and pounding head are enveloped in patina of an espresso hue. A marvelous example from central Africa! Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 1.625" W x 13.625" H (4.1 cm x 34.6 cm); 15" H (38.1 cm) on included custom stand.

The Pende people create works of art that use interestingly-shaped planes, simplified forms, and utilitarian designs, that are typically colored red, white, and black, and use them in initiation rituals, celebrations, as well as everyday life events. Each creation is thought to embody an ancestral force and, when furnished with a face or integral maskette, can act as a conduit for communication with the spirit world.

Condition: Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age and use, several stable hairline fissures along pounding head and body, fading to some carved details to faces, and light roughness along handle tip, otherwise intact and excellent. Light earthen deposits and fabulous patina throughout.

Provenance: private Los Angeles, California USA collection; ex-private James Stephenson collection, Brooklyn, New York, USA; ex-private South African collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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