By Tom Okure, Ph.D
ICMS, Inc Reports
(Photo Credit of Ikorok Drum: Courtesy Gabriel Ette )
The manufacture of Ikorok [the drum] for many Annang clan heads (Chiefs) typically began by sending a selected individual to search the clan forests to find a big tree of hard wood. When such a tree was found, laborers were sent from surrounding villages to assist in the work of cutting the tree down and removing it to the place where the drum would be utilized.
|Ikorok - Annang announcement drum|
Each village would send a representative wood carver. They would carve on the drum, figures of all the animals they could remember they had ever seen and the figures of important village people on the drum. The carving work on the drum was very hard and was known to take up to three years in some cases.
Upon completion of the Ikorok drum, a great feast would be held in which all the villagers were invited to join. During the feast, a sacrifice would be made so that the drum should be set apart for its special work. In Ukana clan, two men were killed and their heads placed one at each end of the drum. So many other animals would also be sacrificed on that day for the Ikorok drum.
During the feasting, the villagers would be told that they must run to the drum at once when they heard the sound or big voice of the mysterious and magical drum. The Ikorok drum is cut out of the tree in the form of a woman with head and legs.
During the yam harvest, after the seed-yams have been selected and stored, the Ikorok drum was beaten and there would be a lot of feasting. Thousands of yams would be placed in an enclosure and put together in rows of twenty upright and fifty rows horizontal.
|Ikorok [The Drum]|
Two men were always killed and their bodies were hung at each end of the enclosure. No one was allowed to go near the place of the sacrifice until the flesh on the sacrificed individuals was gone from their bones. The historical significance of this sacrifice was to warn would be yam and farm thieves. During the next planting season, three men would be caught and sacrificed and the drum was beaten. Two of the men were sacrificed for Ikorok [the drum] and the third person was sacrificed for the seed-yams. The body of the sacrificed third person was cut into pieces and the blood sprinkled on the yams before they were planted.
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