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Africa Direct

Nkutsu Jonga Ceremonial Gong Iron Currency Congo Africa

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Title Nkutsu Jonga Ceremonial Gong Iron Currency Congo Africa
Type of Object Metalwork, gong, currency
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of the Congo
People Nkutsu or Jonga
Materials Iron
Approximate Age Unknown 19th-20th century?
Height (in) 16
Width (in) 8.5
Dimensions Height: 16 Inches
Width: 8.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Broken tip, dents and chipped edges. Extensive rusting

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