19th century from the Baptist Missionary Society. Fine ivory model of a war trumpet oliphant. 10 3/8” length laboriously worked down to the octagonal section with raised false embouchure and thickened mouth. At the time, slaves for the East African/Arab trade were the primary export for Africa. Tribal wars were conducted specifically for the capture of slaves. Signaling with the war trumpet directed the action on the battlefield and meant the difference between life and death. This model was made as a sacrifice intended to benefit the giver in battle. It is made with the skill and care expected of a divine gift. It was acquired by Baptist Missionaries, probably on the conversion of a slave hunter to Christianity. It was part of the church missionary collection which was circulated throughout England on “Mission Sunday” to illustrate the savagery of the African people and collect funds for their conversion. The collection was retired about 1930 and sold at Christie's London in 1985. Ivory restrictions apply.
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