About this object

A large skull drum made from two crania that are punctured and tied together at the crowns. The 'waist' of the drum is strengthened with a quilted strip of red and faded yellow cotton (red only visible where the layers are cut through). Over both cranium is stretched a skin to create a drum surface. Both skins are badly cracked. Encircling the drum is a padded ring of deep red cotton that has two beaters attached to it made from yellow twisted cotton yarn with wax covered felt at the ends. Attached to the skin of one drum is a badly faded collector's label.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains; Music/sound; Religion
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Body-Part Human; Skin; Fibre Yarn Cotton; String
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Henry S Wellcome
  • Place collected
    Not recorded
  • Date collected
    Before 1951
  • Measurements
    142 mm x 240 mm x 130 mm; 5 9/16 in x 9 7/16 in x 5 1/8 in
  • Note
    Curator's note: It is possible to read a part of the collector's label which gives the provenance of the drum as, 'skin-drum from Africa'. The second line of the label detailing who presented it is so faded it is rendered illegible. Written by Emma Martin

    There is still a question mark over whether or not both the record for 51.68ASIA and 51.68.544 relate to the same item. On the inventory card compiled at the time of accession, the scant descriptions of the two objects do seem to relate to this object, but neither set of measurements recorded match the measurements taken by the writer (Emma Martin, 012/08/11)
  • Related people

Where is this object from?

Object view = Humanities
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