Drum (gama)

DATE:
19th–20th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Wood, paint, lizard skin, wax, cane, fiber, iron nails
CLASSIFICATION:
Sound devices
DIMENSIONS:
43 1/4 × 5 1/4 × 5 7/8 in. (109.86 × 13.34 × 14.92 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Not On View
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Evelyn A.J. Hall and John A. Friede
OBJECT NUMBER:
1983.648

General Description

Hand drums are a common musical instrument throughout Papua New Guinea, where they accompanied the clan songs that were sung at ceremonies for the completion of a clan house, initiations, and funerals.

The decoration on this example is characteristic of the art of the Papuan Gulf region, which is essentially two-dimensional with distinctively stylized designs. The primary motif is a human face represented by clusters of fluid linear patterns that indicate the features. The eyes, prominent and easily recognized, are often visual puns: the eyes of the frontal face also form the eyes of two heads of birds with long curving beaks, shown in profile. Eyebrows and nose merge in a single anchorlike element, and a geometric motif separates the human face from the lizard at the pointed end of the drum.

Excerpt from

DMA Label text.

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