Whistle with head

19th–20th century
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General Description

The whistle is carved in the form of a human bust. The hole bored through the neck suggests the whistle was probably a pendant on a fiber cord necklace. A musician played it by blowing across the opening opposite the head and modulating the tone by opening and closing the hold in the side extensions. It may have been used to play music, but it is also possible that a hunter used it to alert other hunters and call his dog. The facial features that were carved in relief on the whistle are flattened from use.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.