Miniature figure of a drummer
Perrois (1979: pls. 277, 277a, 279) attributes several miniature carvings like this to the Lumbo, one of the Shira-Punu group of peoples in southern Gabon, around the Nyanga river valley. The backward projecting coiffure is characteristic of this style and has led to some of these carvings, including this one, being described as hooks.
This figure has a pith channel running all the way from the top of its head, through the body, and across the ring. This would severely weaken the ring, and when other pieces in the style, some with flat bases, are considered, the hook hypothesis seems unconvincing. It is possibly an amulet or charm which could be worn as a pendant, whether carried in the hand or on a finger, or even hung on a wall. The figure is apparently male, and the position astride the drum is one commonly adopted when playing the long cylindrical drums found in this part of Africa.
Margaret Carey, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 173.
Purchased by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury from S. Rasmussen in 1965.
Donated to the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia in 1973 as part of the original gift.
Title/Description: Miniature figure of a drummer
Born: 1850 - 1950
Object Type: Figure
Measurements: h. 133 x w. 68 x d. 42 mm
Accession Number: 242
Historic Period: 19th Century - Late, 20th Century - Early
Cultural Group: Lumbo, Shira-Punu
Credit Line: Donated by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1973