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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Musical Instruments : Yoruba Ceremonial Wooden Drum
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Yoruba Ceremonial Wooden Drum - PF.4778
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 39.5" (100.3cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Hide

Location: United States
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Yoruba artists aim to uplift and stimulate the viewer by the beauty and power of their inventiveness and skill. A work of art communicates information about everyday life, human nature, and the interaction of spirits upon the living.

The rich panoply of daily existence can be seen on this marvelous drum. It is divided into two sections; the lower portion shows a type of procession where ten figures are seen in profile moving in a clock-wise direction, ending and beginning with a figure facing frontally. One figure holds the arm of another as if he is a prisoner, while another holds a smaller person upside-down by the feet. They have the appearance of processional figures as seen on palace doors offering homage to a king. On the upper section a couple appears to be making love, a mother with a baby on her back presses the arm of a man, another man makes an offering of animals, while a third rests his hand on the top of a child's head. The central image is an abstract face reminiscent of those carved by the famous sculptor Olowe, and conceivably an image of the god Olodumare. This upper level seems to be related to figures involved in fertility and procreation; while the lower band is devoted to paying homage. Both aspects are crucial to the harmony of daily life. The power of this drum is so intense you can feel and almost hear its voice waiting to awaken the souls of the living and the spirits of the other world.
- (PF.4778)


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