Democratic Republic of the Congo
H: 20.3 cm, W: 3.8 cm, D: 4.8 cm (H: 7.9 in, W: 1.4 in, D: 1.8 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X92.47
The Lemba society is a powerful organization that promoted social order, invoked healing processes, and controlled commerce among the Vili peoples. Lemba was (and perhaps is ) a cult of affliction, through which people might solve various problems such as child mortality. The teacher played a slit gong like this while training new members. The shape of the gong is that of a crescent moon, a symbol of the world of ancestors. The gong’s sound reminds the initiates that they are learning ancestral knowledge.
Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 286