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date: 13 November 2019


  • Ferdinand J. de Hen


Dynastic drums of the Tutsi people of Rwanda. The four types, each with two cowhide heads laced together, are called kalinga, cyimumugizi, mpatsibihugu, and kiragutse. The kalinga is most important for it contains the skull of the previous king (mwami). The cyimumugizi is considered to be the wife of the kalinga. The other two are of minor importance but all these drums are so sacred that they may never touch the soil, and therefore they are placed upon a ‘chair’ and covered with reed mats. They are decorated with rings of dried palm leaves containing the dried severed private parts of enemies. The drums have each a smaller two-headed drum, the skins of which are laced together with leather straps, lying behind them as their servants. The kalinga represented the mwami and was honoured as the king himself. The four drums were kept in a hut where there was an ‘eternal’ fire. Since the revolution in ...

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O. Boone: Les tambours du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1951)