X87.107 Drum

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Democratic Republic of the Congo
Vili peoples
Wood, hide, glass, pigment
L: 22.8 cm, H: 92.4 cm, D: 20.3 cm (L: 8.9 in, H: 36.3 in, D: 7.9 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X87.107


Vili associate drums with the presence and voice of ancestors. When an ancestor overcomes a drum, the drum is said to play without human intervention. As a sign of this miraculous occurrence, snakes circle the drum. Vili healers and diviners (ng’anga) own and use drums in their healing ceremonies, but they can also be played during other important occasions by a drummer with special training about how to respect the ancestral spirit inhabiting the drum.

Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 335