15 ½” length, natural tusk laboriously thinned its full length leaving the raised embouchure. The small end opened to produce a second note. By the mid-19th century, tribal war, which earlier resulted from migrations, had evolved into vehicles for slave capturing. As in Europe, signals in the field were given by horns which could be heard above the human cries generated by the carnage. This specimen embodies all that is valued in African art. It has a near black patina, the color of dark chocolate, with a glowing uniform gloss which extends over the small chips to each end verifying their originality to the period of use. Two shrink cracks have been stabilized with pitch in its period of activity. The surface, smooth from handling results in a ribbed texture from the grain of the horn. The labor to produce this horn, known as an oliphant, far exceeds that to produce a slaver’s sword and only an elite leader would use it or need to own it. Fine form and unsurpassed for the character sought in African art, resulting from its extensive use which probably approached a century in length.
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