Slit gong, first half of 20th century


Wood, plant fibersexpand_more

Gift of funds from Tom Harkcomexpand_more  2017.32

Like the abstract animal-shaped slit gong nearby, this instrument is a so-called “talking drum.” In this case, the carver has made it look like a human face: the slit represents a “mouth,” terminating in “eyes,” which are highlighted by semi-circles. The instrument’s surface shows a beautiful deep gloss, called patina, that is produced by extensive use and age. It was handled for decades by people who had been initiated into a society or association with great political power and prestige among the Ndengese people.

Slit gong
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

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