African designs, £9.99
Nja Mahdaoui, a double membrane drum
Tunisia, 20th century AD
This drum is decorated by Nja Mahdaoui (born
1937), one of Tunisia's leading contemporary artists. He
has travelled and exhibited his works in Asia, America, Africa and
Europe. His work is based on the shapes associated with
Religious festivals, ceremonies and spontaneous public events in Tunisia are usually accompanied by musical performances which include both vocal and percussion elements. Mahdaoui is a lover of contemporary African music and dance and frequently performs with poets, musicians and dancers in these musical happenings.
This drum is played with two wooden beaters, which are suspended from the shoulder by a leather belt when in use. Drums of this type vary in size from 40 to 70 cm in diameter; this large drum is similar to those played on Jerba and the Kerkenna Islands.
R. Issa, Signs, traces, calligraphy: fi (Barbican Centre, London and Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, 1995)
J. Hudson, Artists and artisans, perspect (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)