Slit Gong in the Form of a Woman (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th–20th century
Dan (Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire)
Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire
Overall: 26 1/2 × 6 × 5 in. (67.31 × 15.24 × 12.7 cm)

Music, one of Africa’s greatest art forms, is quite possible its most dynamic contribution to the world’s stage. African music has many modes and is performed in many contexts: as an accompaniment to the recitation of epic poems and oral histories, during ceremonies, and in the performance of masks.

African music instruments are often sculpted, either with abstract designs or anthropomorphic (human-like) forms, as seen in this slit gong in the form of a woman. A slit gong is made by hollowing out a long block of wood, leaving an opening along one face of the block (here, the slit is in the back). The surfaces on either side of the hollow create sound when struck by a by a wooden stick.

Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund, The Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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