Royal Drum (Pelambish) (Primary Title)
Pelambish (Royal Drum) (Alternate Title)

Unknown (Artist)

early 20th century
wood, leather, copper, raffia cloth, cowries, glass beads, fur
Democratic Republic of Congo
Overall: 45 1/4 × 12 1/4 in. dia. (114.94 × 31.12 cm)
Drumming is a hallmark of African music, and the Kuba create the most lavish of all African drums. Whereas Kuba musicians usually play drums having only carved decoration, the colorful patterns fashioned from cowries, beads, and copper elevate this drum to regal status as a symbol of wealth and power. Made more for show than sound, it would have been displayed next to a royal wisdom basket, as arranged here, when the king was seated in full regalia upon the throne.
Gift of Kenneth and Bonnie Brown
Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, William King Museum, Abingdon, Virginia, March 28 - July 12, 2015; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia, September 26, 2015 - January 3, 2016; Piedmont Arts, Martinsville, Virginia, January 16 - March 6, 2016

African Beaded Art: Power and Adornment, Smith College Museum of Art, 1 February - June 2008.

© artist or artist’s estate

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