African art > Tam-Tam, Djembe, musical instruments > Chokwe Drum
Drum Chokwe, Tschokwe (N° 19215)
Ex-German African art collection.
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Among the royal musical instruments of the Tschokwe, this ceremonial drum is supported by two carved faces. The latter, rising from a thick, partially damaged cylindrical base, adopt some of the features of the chihongo mask. In each chiefdom, an attendant would announce each solemn event by means of the drum. According to legend, the membrane of the instrument once concealed a second skin: that of a sacrificial victim.
Dark brown patina, ochre residues.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda Empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwé never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, the Chokwé eventually seized the capital of the Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwé did not have centralized power but large chieftaincies. They were the ones that attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces of such quality that the Lunda court employed only them.
The African masks Chokwe pwo ,among the many masks akishi or "akixi" (sing: mukishi , indicating power) of Chokwe tribal art, are exclusively feminine representations which were accompanied by accessories and ornaments. They were, however, worn by high-ranking men.
Joined to their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable by their large tray-shaped headdress, the pwo should bring fertility and prosperity to the community.
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|Material(s)||wood, peau animale|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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