Arara Sabalu drum, nineteenth century, maker unknown. This exquisite example of colonial-era Arara drums -- this would be the tallest of a set of seven -- is "goblet" shaped and utilizes the peg-and-cord tuning system. It bears a burnished low relief face representing a vodun, fluted vertical patterns, and an incised geometric interlaced band. The colonial Spanish and later Cuban governments ferociously persecuted the African religions between the 1880's and the mid 1920's, regarding them as dangerous "witchcraft." This masterpiece was confiscated by the police from an Arara cabildo during the presidency of Menocal (1913-1917). Later accessioned by the National Museum in Havana, it was studied by Fernando Ortiz (1952) and later restored to its original splendor by conservator Denis Moreno in the 1980s. It now resides in the Fernando Ortiz collection of Old Havana's "Africa House." At least five Arara "nations" (of Adja-Fon/Adja-Ewe extraction from the former Kingdom of Dahomey, now the Republic of Benin) existed in Matanzas: Arara Majino, Cuevano, Abopa, Cuatro Ojos, and Sabalu. The first has greatly diminished, the middle three have disappeared, and the last functions in Matanzas(Cabildo Arara SabaluNonjo/Espiritu Santo, directed by Babalawo Oscar Rodriguez), and in Havana under Oluwo Popo Awo Bokono Pedro Abreu.