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Divination Instrument (Galukoji)

The Pende, like many other peoples in sub-Saharan Africa, traditionally believe that certain individuals have the ability to communicate with spirits of the dead to ensure success and prosperity for those living in the physical world. Pende diviners compete fiercely for clients, and a variety of divinatory methods and their accompanying devices have gone in and out of fashion as ways to convince clients that particular diviners can offer the best connection to the ancestors. The galukoji is one of the most striking of these divination objects; first documented in 1928, it continued in use to the early 1950s.

Pende peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Divination Instrument (Galukoji)
Mid-20th century
Wood, fiber, feathers
H. approx. 9 in. (22.9 cm); H. of face 3 ½ in. (8.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Kelley Rollings in honor of Raymond and Laura Wielgus, 98.178