Africa, Guinea/Sierra Leone, Bassa Loma peoples, ca. 1900 CE. A hand-carved wood drum with five high relief abstract visages featured around the body, stylized raised arms or sceptors between these faces, all against a ground of raised horizontal bands - this pattern mirrored on the five ridged legs positioned beneath each noble countenance. Strong natural fibers secure the animal skin drumhead to large pegs on the upper section. Size: 18.20" W at widest point x 25.5" H (46.2 cm x 64.8 cm)
Drums are among the most significant forms of material culture in Africa, serving as both musical instruments as well as works of sculptural art created for ceremonial purposes including story-telling, dances, rituals, and communication of messages. The playing of percussive instruments transferred over the Atlantic to the Americas where African slaves continued to use drums for such purposes. As time went on, the rhythmic techniques involved also influenced Afro-Cuban as well as African-American musical genres.
Provenance: Ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL, acquired prior to 1970.
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