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Tabwa (Batabwa, Taabwa), Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia

Ceremonial Slit-Drum. The peoples who currently identify themselves as Tabwa migrated to this area from east central Africa looking for fertile land or to escape warfare. Numbering two hundred thousand they settled along the shores of Lake Tanganyika and incorporated many of the customs they encountered from their new neighbors, the Luba, into their own way of life. Traditionally, Tabwa people made their living from hunting and blacksmithing; nowadays they cultivate millet, manioc, and corn, but they live primarily off fishing and hunting. This instrument, the main insignia of the diviner, is the focus of a complex system of ritual institutions concerned with hereditary curses and curing. It is used as a container for preparing and serving divinatory medicines, but it is also beaten at the funeral of a diviner or to beat out the rhythm during dances.

Material: wood

Size: H. 23”, W, 5”, D. 7”