Smithsonian Collections

Drum

Image for Drum
Data Source
National Museum of African Art
Label Text
Among the Asante and neighboring peoples, voluntary music associations (ntan) provide entertainment for a variety of occasions, including weddings, funerals and festivals. Many of the motifs on these drums relate to Asante proverbs and suggest the qualities the society seeks in its members or to the society's relationship to the town. For example the use of a powerful animal such as an elephant, or on this drum a lion, refers to how the ntan group supports the town. The cocoa tree is typically associated with members that are farmers. One of the more unusual motifs on this drum is the elephant riding in a truck driven by an antelope. It is an updating of the earlier motif of an antelope atop an elephant. It may, like the British coat of arms on the front of the drum, refer to the mixing of traditional and colonial powers.
Description
Wood drum with hide drum head mounted on the back of a lion. Low relief of two figures seated at table, British coat of arms, equestrian, elephant, turtle, crossed crocodiles, sankofa, elephant in a truck, cocoa tree, crab, recumbant figure, and other various animals. Traces of metalic paint on lion and multi-colored paint overall.
Provenance
Emil J. Arnold, New York, -- to 1968
Published References
Ross, Doran (ed). 1992. Elephant: The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, p. 154, no. 7-24. (Drawing of detail of elephant in truck. Wrong accession number printed, 68-36-297.)
Maker
Asante artist
Date
Mid 20th century
Credit Line
Gift of Emil Arnold
Medium
Wood, hide, plant fiber, paint
Dimensions
H x W x D: 118.4 x 53 x 62.9 cm (46 5/8 x 20 7/8 x 24 3/4 in.)
Type
Musical Instrument
See more items in
National Museum of African Art Collection
Object number
68-36-397
Topic
elephant
crocodile
lion
turtle
equestrian
crab
tree
Male use
sankofa
Geography
Ghana