Among the Mfunu this would be used as a status hatchet. A status object is one that confers or conveys one’s position within a social hierarchy. A more familiar example of this hatchet utilizes both repoussé and coiled wire to achieve an intricate abstract design scheme. The bladed portion consists of attractively patinated iron.
The people of the Mfunu ethic group originated in the southern region of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Traditionally they were a riverine people who subsisted through cultivation of river banks and fishing. These people were also known to trade along the Zaire river.