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The Pende people who are mostly farmers form about sixty little kingdoms, each comprising several clans and each headed by a chief whose main function is religious i.e. mediator with the ancestors who are the sources of health, fecundity and fertility. Even though the society is matrilineal, the sculptor’s profession is transmitted from father to son. The name of this figure, kipoko, is derived from the word for the executioner’s knife, poko. This figurine is related to the cult of the hamba or ancestors. It symbolizes the potential power of the chief and ancestral authority. Typical is a sharply jutting platform comprising the lower part of the face and representing the beard.