Percussion musical instrument of the Mangbetu, this wooden dugout idiophone, in the shape of a half moon, was hollowed out to act as a sound box.
Equipped with a handle and an ancestor figure, it is trimmed with upholstery nails forming decorative motifs.
Satin brown patina, abrasions.
Height on base: 32 cm.
The Mangebetu kingdom in northern Congo produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments and statuary are imbued with a rare aesthetic quality. The ancients call beli the anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli.
The slit drum is not only a musical instrument animating the dance but also a vector of speech, since it is used to communicate messages: invitations to gatherings, various announcements, etc... In Central Africa, the ritualist, the only authorized to use the instrument, also seeks to attract the attention of the spirits thanks to the sound produced by the drumsticks struck on the slot.
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