The anthropomorphic handle of this knife has nothing decorative about it. The presence of holes in the skull and stomach of the figure, indicates that this handle was a sculpted nkishi (charm). Such "fetish knives" also existed in other cultures like those of the Luluwa or the Kongo.
This figurine, in the "bibendum" style, seems to have been in favour amongst the southern Lega peoples. This object is linked to the bwami association, the members of which were scattered within different village communities and had considerable moral, political and judicial power.
The pearl-spotted owlet has two striking eyespots on its nape. They are formed by black and white feathers and are most visible when the owl is on the lookout bending forwards. The spots mislead prey and scare off attackers.