base of drum is three-dimensional sculpture of a nude woman seated on a low chair with a ladder back, with her hair in three braids, holding drum body on her head and with her PL hand; PR index finger on PR cheek; body of drum is rounded at bottom with incised geometric bands and two human figures at front; skin head stretched with strings on wooden pegs; white, green and black pigments

Drum, about 1950

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Akan communities in southern Ghana have a tradition in which popular bands compete in instrumental, choral, and dance performances. The master drum, sometimes identified as the “mother of the group,” is the musical and visual focal point of each band. The gesture of the woman, her finger pointing to her eye, may refer to the proverb, “If you can hear, can you not also see'”—emphasizing the importance of using all the senses. Or it may be a warning to the other bands: “Wait and see who is going to win.”

Details
Title
Drum
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2010.18
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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base of drum is three-dimensional sculpture of a nude woman seated on a low chair with a ladder back, with her hair in three braids, holding drum body on her head and with her PL hand; PR index finger on PR cheek; body of drum is rounded at bottom with incised geometric bands and two human figures at front; skin head stretched with strings on wooden pegs; white, green and black pigments