Hand drum - ROM2017_15672_20


Hand drum

Maker: Probably Plains Cree or Ojibwa
Medium:Painted hide
Geography: Saskatchewan or Manitoba, Canada
Date: c. 1885
Diameter 20 cm
Object number: NS15697
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Rear
Not on view

Double-headed hand drum, painted on one side with Thunderbirds (one holding pipe) and possibly a turtle. The other side depicts two morning star forms and is divided by two adjacent parallel lines.

Drums and rattles were the only musical accompaniment to the singing and dancing in Anishinaabeg ceremonies. The beat of the drum was associated with the heartbeat of the Creator, or more recently of Mother Earth. One type of drum was held in the hand while played. As in these examples from the early 1900s, such hand-held drums usually had a double head of deerskin stretched over a wooden hoop. Some of them had tightly stretched cords incorporating wooden pegs that reverberated when played, while others held pebbles or bits of tin. The instruments were often painted with images of spirit beings and demarcations of sky, earth, and underwater worlds.

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