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Object Name: Drum (ntan)
Artist: Osei Bonsu (1900-1977)
Culture: Asante peoples
Place of Origin: Kumasi, Ghana
Date/Era: Circa 1935
Medium/Materials: Wood, pigment, hide
Dimensions: H: 111.7 cm (H: 43.9 in)
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Dr. Donald Suggs.
Accession Number: X78.136
Within the cultures of the Asante and other Akan peoples of Ghana, eloquence is esteemed, and numerous art forms celebrate and are inspired by the gift of language. Many of the drums played by popular bands in southern Ghana are filled with images that recall important verbal expressions. The drum itself-often identified as the “mother of the group” functions both as a musical instrument to entertain at social occasions and as an object to be read, given its visual references to proverbial language. These verbal/visual messages define acceptable modes of behavior and underscore essential truths and social values.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.