Drum language – Ghanaian 'atumpan' drums


This pair of atumpan drums forms part of an ensemble owned by Obed Abbey-Mensah of Abladei (UK). They were loaned to the British Library for display in the 2015-16 West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition. In the Asante empire (modern Ghana), atumpan drums form part of the king’s official regalia. They are symbols of his status and power and are used to ‘speak’ texts such as praises, proverbs and drum poetry.

Full title:
A pair of Asante 'atumpan' drums from Ghana
Digital photograph
Tony Antoniou
© Tony Antoniou
Held by
British Library

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