Lot: 291

99th Auction

Anthropomorphic bow harp "ngombi" (cordophone)

North Gabon / South Cameroon, Fang

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Private Collection, Baden-Württemberg, Germany (1973) H: 30.3 inch;
L: 29.9 inch

wood, animal skin and sinews, plant fiber, six (of originally eight) strings, two sound holes, handwritten inventory no. "5741", base

The harp "ngombi" was used in ceremonies of the "bwiti" society. It was the property of a priest of the cult community and was played at religious gatherings.

The crowning head represents the central figure of the "bwiti" religion, the mother figure "Nyingwan Mbege". In sculptures and paintings she is often depicted as rising from the moon, holding the sun in her right hand and the moon in her left.

Kubik, Gerhard et. al., Afrikanische Musikinstrumente, Berlin 2014, p. 242, p. 242 f.
Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Afrikanische Kunst in Deutschen Privatsammlungen, München 1973, p. 325, cat.466