|Wooden pounders by gift |
of Edward Merrin. Credit:
MAA, University of Missouri.
The pombibele were used to strike the ground at the funerals of their elders — hence the figurines are also called 'pounders'. Similar to the traditions of ancient Egypt, this was done to lubricate the passage of one's spirit into the afterlife, known as the "village of the dead". Although such 'pounding' also provided an accompaniment for the ritual African music and dancers.
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