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ID number:  BIRRC-D0069
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Tall carved drum
Object type:  Musical instrument
Place made:  Bamenda, Cameroons
Culture:  Bamileke
Materials:  Skin, leather and wood
Measurements:  104 cm
BIRRC-D0069.jpg

This drum is comprised of a single skin membrane attached by wooden pegs and leather thongs. It depicts carved relief decorations of human heads, chameleons and geometric patterns and was collected in the 1950s. The Bamileke describes a collective of peoples living in the Bamileke region of Cameroon. Culturally they have strong traditions of masquerading.

John Danford spent the majority of his professional life working for the British Council in West Africa. He spent 11 years as the representative in Ibadan, Nigeria, his arts education providing him with the insight to encourage and develop the arts in Nigeria. For his achievements in this area he was awarded an OBE in 1953. He occupied three further posts in Trinidad, Manchester and Sierra Leone before illness forced him into retirement. In 1964 a large portion of his West African arts collection was loaned to the University of Birmingham before being purchased in 1975, forming the nucleus of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.

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