Kuba (Shoowa)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

Kuba drums with outward curved legs are rare and intended for the elite. Such prestigious objects were carved with pedestal bases to elevate the drum off the ground. The Kuba carved many different types of drums, many having a hand on the front, which was associated with the “iyol” soldier’s society. To join, one killed an enemy and presented their hand as proof. The elaborate surface designs reference textile patterns. The twisted rope-like pattern on the two legs of the drum’s base suggest the form of the high prestige belt (mwaandaan) worn by many Kuba titleholders.

Drum, wood, hide, Kuba (Shoowa)

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