X85.465 Drum

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Ngounie River region, Gabon
Punu peoples
Wood, hide, pigment
H: 34.2 cm, D: 24.1 cm (H: 13.4 in, D: 9.4 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X85.465


The three faces on this drum look like “mukudj” masks of the Punu peoples. Alis LaGamma convincingly argues that the Punu prominently display this type of mask as “a collective ethnic emblem” in an area of ethnic diversity where being Punu can be politically and economically important. With the “mukudj” masks boldly displayed on the side of this drum, the artist assured that the audience easily inentified the musicians as Punu. Leon Siroto suggests that all drums of this type are by a single unnamed carver and cautions against associating the drum with the performance of the masks depicted on it.

Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 334