X85.463a,b Drum

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Democratic Republic of the Congo
Chokwe peoples
Wood, hide, fiber, resin
H: 54 cm, D: 30.5 cm (H: 21.2 in, D: 12.0 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X85.463a,b


The Chokwe and their neighbors refer to ceremonies in general as “playing the drums.” Hourglass-shaped drums like this one were reserved for performances associated with chiefs and, although they could be used at any event, they were identified with Mukanda,the men’s initiation society. The face on the side of this drum represents Mwana wa Pwo, a masquerade character representing a yound woman who appears in the communities during men’s initiations to dance or “play” with the women.

Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 332