Cameroon, finely carved with classical Bamileke figural motifs covering the entire body of the drum. The whole with an exceptional patina. Old typanum still intact overall fine lustrous surface. height 54in
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.26, fig.57
Drums in the Cameroon Grasslands belonged either to the Kwifon, a regulatory society of dignitaries, or were attached directly to the king's palace. The relief imagery on its side refers to the double gongs of iron played at secret meetings and to society members or retainers who hold drinking receptacles, both of which are symbols of high rank and status. Drums are the major musical instrument used to accompany dance, song and procession. This exceptional example is deeply carved, so much so that the figures appear almost in the round.