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N'koko Ngoombu (Diviner's Slit Gong)

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unknown Yaka
Yaka Primary

N'koko Ngoombu (Diviner's Slit Gong)

Late19th century - Mid 20th century
Carved wood with patina

18 11/16 in. x 14 in. x 4 1/8 in. (47.5 cm x 35.5 cm x 10.5 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.117
Other Number(s): 97 (218) (Neufeld Collection Number)
218 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Yaka, Congolese, Central African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection
Slit gongs, such as this one from the Democratic Republic of Congo, are viewed as "minkisi," spiritual items used for divination and healing purposes. This sacred instrument was used to accompany funerary processions and played as a way to communicate between the realm of the living and the world of the spirits. Gongs and other instruments were often given a power by being filled with items made for healing or by having medicinal packets attached.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Central African - Styles and cultures from a wide region of Africa that straddles the Equator and is drained largely by the Congo River system.
  • Congolese - Nationality, styles, and cultures of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • minkisi - Sculpture used to contain potent medicines that are associated with spiritual or healing power, often taking the form of carved wooden figures or assemblages of objects, such as bundles, shells, pots, and amulets. Originating in the Congo region of Africa, their use in divination, protection, and healing rites has been carried to Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, and the American South.
  • ritual objects - Objects used for a particular ritual activity, often as part of a ceremony.
  • slit drums - Percussion idiophones made by cutting, burning, or gouging a slit in the wall of a hollowed-out piece of wood, used for musical or signaling purposes.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.
  • Yaka

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  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/20/1996

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Important Tribal Art Sotheby's . New York, NY, 1989
    Figure Number: 218
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0179776.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0017108.
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0160914.
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0017051.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Jacqueline Cogdell Djedje, Turn Up the Volume! A Celebration of African Music (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History., 1999), 286.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Fowler Museum, Visions of Africa: The Jerome L. Joss Collection of African Art at UCLA (Los Angeles, California: University of California Fowler Museum, 1994), 120-121. Figure Number: 40
  • "ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA." (Accessed May 10, 2020):

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=N'koko Ngoombu (Diviner's Slit Gong) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/28/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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