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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Musical Instruments : Mangbetu Ivory and Snake Skin Anthropomorphic Harp
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Mangbetu Ivory and Snake Skin Anthropomorphic Harp - PF.5412
Origin: Northeastern Congo
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high x 3.5" (8.9cm) wide x 13.5" (34.3cm) depth
Collection: African
Medium: Ivory and Snake Skin


Location: UAE
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Description
This fascinating musical instrument is composed of two sections, the oblong body and the upright handle in the shape of a naked woman. The limbs and body of the woman are highly elongated, yet quite naturalistic all the same, having wavy lines within rectangular sections covering the entire figure. Her arms, flush against her sides, have five holes on each side made to hold the strings. In order to show off their wealth, Mangbetu chiefs had numerous art objects created. Musical instruments with carved figures on the end were played by itinerant musicians in Central Africa, who would have used an instrument such as this one to entertain guests at royal celebrations. - (PF.5412)

 

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