2. Central Africa Ethnography hall
Zoomorphic split drum
This slit or split drum is almost a hundred years old and was first and foremost used to convey messages.
The drum is carved from one tree trunk. Two sides with different thicknesses produce different sounds.
Bantu languages are tone languages. The drummer can convert words and even complete sentences into drum rhythms. In some tribes from the north of Congo it is customary to make drums in the form of an animal (zoomorphic), for instance crocodiles or buffalo.
This drum is attributed to the LOI and represents a stylised antelope.
Many African tribes use traditional stools as chairs, cut from one solid piece of wood.
The TSHOKWE presumably copied this chair from a model that was common in 17th century Portugal. The chair’s design is therefore in a sense ‘European’, but the TSHOKWE adapted the material and sculptural details to their tradition.
The TSHOKWE use chairs as a symbol of authority that represent -among others- highlights in the chief’s life or scenes from his direct environment.
This nicely sculpted Kariatide chair is made of one solid piece of wood.
As in many African tribes, for the LUBA, seating is the main symbol of kingship. The royal palace is called the ‘seat of power’ (kitenta) and sitting is a metaphor of the social hierarchy.
This chair is unique because of the texture-rich, sculpted surface. It displays cosmetic elements like scar tattoos, which are believed to increase beauty and erotic pleasure.