Hand-held or Kundu' drum - ROM2014_14312_6


Hand-held or Kundu' drum

Maker: Sepik
Medium:Carved and incised wood, reptile skin
Geography: Melanesia, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Date: c. 1950
81.3 × 15.2 cm
Object number: 969.330.134
Not on view
DescriptionHand-held drums are called kundu in Papua New Guinea. Making a kundu drum takes many hours of painstaking work. The carver must cut, chip, and shave the wood using an axe or adze. The centre handle is carved from the same single piece of wood. Hallowing out the drum from both ends is accomplished by a process of firing over many days, using hot charcoal, a rasped metal instrument and a fire stick. The outside surface is cleaned, sanded and smoothened, after which the designs are painted in various colours. A lizard or goanna skin is stretched and glued to one side, and the surface is struck by the kundu drummer to produce sound. Kundu drums are beaten to a rhythm that accompanies the singing during ceremonies, “sing-sings” (sing-and-dance cultural events) or during special festive occasions. Additional Reading: For how kundu drums are made: 1. 1987. Bikmaus - A Journal of Papua New Guinea Affairs, Ideas and the Arts. Vol.7, No. 3, September. p. 51-61.
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