Democratic Republic of Congo, of classical form, the large elegant drum with a stylized face surrounded by geometric patterns. Further patterning to the base and upper register. Overall fine patina. height 42in
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.39, fig.88
Drums of the Lele are at once recognizable by their elongated shapes and intricate surface design. As in the case of this example, many bear large mask-like faces carved in high relief on the upper portion. Though the mask faces clearly resemble the masks of the Lele themselves, it is not surprising that such drums can often be seen in use among the neighboring Kuba, who trade carved wooden cups and pipes extensively with the Lele.