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Nkutsu Jonga Ceremonial Gong Currency Congo African Art

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Title Nkutsu Jonga Ceremonial Gong Currency Congo African Art
Type of Object Metalwork, gong, currency
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Nkutsu or Jonga
Materials Iron
Approximate Age 19th -20th century
Dimensions Height: 18.75 Inches
Width: 7.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to good
Damage/Repair Rusting surface, mostly flattened, cracks and wear

Additional Information: A Nkutshu or Jonga  forged iron gong/Currency in the Democratic Republic of Congo,  Africa. Such gong are also found among many other cultures throughout Central and West Africa.
The Nkutsu  and particularly their neighbors the Jonga are well known for their skilled blacksmiths who produced various objects in metal including such gongs made for use by the members of the Nkumi society. The Nkutshu occupy the region between the rivers Kasai, Sankuru and Lomami; the Jonga live by the Tshuapa River one of the tributaries of the greater Congo in the neighboring of the Mongo, Tetela, and Nkutshu where the sculpture of wood is not quite developed.

 According to Roberto Ballarini, Such gongs were used as a symbol of brotherhood. The gong was beaten worth a stick covered with rubber at the end. During ceremonies, metal gongs were used  to set the rhythm for music, establishes the cadence for rituals, religious ceremonies. Only members of a certain grade had the right to beat such a gong. Such gongs were also used as currency among number of Congolese ethnic groups. The gong has an elegant form. The handle was probably bound with raffia or other vegetable fibre.   The age of this example is unknown although the rusted surface evidences  the gong has a good age and has been  extensively exposed to the elements.

See a similar gong in Ballarini, Roberto.  Armi Bianche Dell’Africa Nera, Black Africa’s Traditional Arms.  1992, p.112, fig. 70PQ