'Lawle' Gong Tapper/Beater - Baule people, Ivory Coast
Title: ‘Lawle’ Gong Tapper/Beater
Material: Wood, iron and fabric
Country: Ivory Coast
Description: Elaborate gong beaters are sculpted with images
of humans, animals, masks & geometric designs and are used by
Komien, professional spirit mediums who perform divinations. After
rigorous training that can take several years to complete, a medium
is conditioned to enter a trance to the steady beating of the small
iron gong. The diviner usually enters the trance indoors, before he
or she proceeds to the public space where the consultation is to be
held. During the session which may last several hours, the medium
holds the gong & lawle, striking it if the trance begins to wear off.
While possessed, the medium speaks with the voices of various
nature spirits. Cures prescribed by Komien are often remarkably
effective in combating both physical & psychological ills.