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X92.47 Slit gong

 

Object Name: Slit gong
Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cultural Group: Vili peoples
Materials Used: Wood
Dimensions: H: 20.3 cm, W: 3.8 cm, D: 4.8 cm (H: 7.9 in, W: 1.4 in, D: 1.8 in)
Credit Line and Accession Number: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X92.47

The Lemba society is a powerful organization that promoted social order, invoked healing processes, and controlled commerce among the Vili peoples. Lemba was (and perhaps is ) a cult of affliction, through which people might solve various problems such as child mortality. The teacher played a slit gong like this while training new members. The shape of the gong is that of a crescent moon, a symbol of the world of ancestors. The gong’s sound reminds the initiates that they are learning ancestral knowledge.

Source: DjeDje, J. C. (1999). “Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 286

SKU: X92.47 Category:

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