early 1900s

Wood, rawhide, plant fiber, metal, and glass bead

Handle: 36.9 cm (14 1/2 in.); Drum: 18.2 cm (7 3/16 in.)

Gift of the African Art Sponsors of Karamu House 1929.344



Although five-stringed melodic harps with anthropomorphic decorations are found among different peoples in northern Congo, the elongated skull of this work is characteristic of the Mangbetu. Such instruments commonly served to accompany songs by either male or female musicians. Cleveland artist Paul Travis acquired this work and some others during his travels in Central Africa in 1928.

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