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.
- Article by:
- Dr Marion Wallace, Dr Janet Topp Fargion
West Africa is a place of great diversity – in language, in writing, in the hugely varied means of recording information and passing it on.