Chokwe Comb

The Chokwe comb was often presented to a loved one as a gift or expression of love


The Chokwe people of Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are well-known for art objects produced to celebrate and validate the royal court. These objects include ornately carved stools and chairs used as thrones. Most of the sculptures are portraits, which represent the royal lineage. Staffs, scepters, combs, and spears are among other implements sculpted to celebrate the court.

Chokwe combs were ornately carved to indicate tribal and cultural affiliations, as well as personal status, history, and wealth. The comb was often presented to a loved one as a gift or expression of love, although it is interesting to note that this important cultural symbol did not accompany African slaves on the Slave Ships crossing to the Americas. It was not until the 18th Century - 300 years after the slave trips began - that such combs once again became part of African life in the Americas.

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