Bwami Miniature of a Billhook (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th-20th century
Decorative Arts
Tools, Equipment, Utensils
bone (probably elephant)
Democratic Republic of Congo
Overall: 8 1/8 × 1 5/8 × 1/2 in. (20.64 × 4.13 × 1.27 cm)
This small bone carving represents a billhook, or iron knife for clearing vines from the forest. It represents the Lega saying, “many people are needed to clear the tangle of vines,” which alludes to the community role in each person’s initiation.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard France
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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