About this object

Thighbone trumpet. The mouthpiece is bound with a brass cover decorated with bands of flowers, repeating 'c' scrolls and waves. The end of the trumpet is covered with leather that has been stitched in place and then finished with two bands of brass that form a 'T' shape, again these are decorated with 'c' scrolls and wave patterns. Attached to the mouthpiece and the base are brass loops that hold a tablet woven strap of navy blue edged with red in place.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains; Music/sound; Religion
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Bone Human Femur; Copper Alloy; Skin Leather; Textile Cotton
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Not recorded
  • Date collected
    1913-01-30 before
  • Measurements
    83 mm x 357 mm; x 3 1/4 in x 14 1/16 in
  • Note
    List of Curios No 156: The following description from Charles Bell's 'List of Curios' dated 30th January 1913 and described to him by Barmiak Lama. It reads: ' Thigh bone trumpet, 14" long, bound with brass at one end and leather and brass at the other. Known as Kang-tung. Use different from 82 and 155 (other trumpets in his collection). This kang-tung is used by Lamas of Nying-ma, Kar-gyu and other sects, except Gelukpa, which do not use it much, for calling demons. The Lama at the same time rattles a large damaru (drum) in his left hand. He calls the demons thus to cremation grounds and lets them feed apparently but nor really, on his body. He then preaches to them on the wickedness of their ways and tries to persuade them to give up evil doing. When he has done this at a hundred cremation grounds or grounds where corpses are burnt or given to birds, he is qualified to visit sick persons. To these he calls the demons, gives them an apparent but not real, meal on the sick man's body and then sends them away and the sick man recovers. When calling the demons he recites prayers exhorting them to give up their evil ways, that they may go to the god's world, and warning them that otherwise they will go to hell (nya-la). Curator's note: Well documented item acquired by Charles Bell who was the Political Officer for the Himalayan Region first posted to Darjeeling in 1900. Acquired before 1913, when the item was written up in Bell's List of Curio's. Bell acquired a number of unprovenanced Tibetan religious items from traders operating in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong markets. Item acquired by NML in 1988 following a long term loan dating from 1950. Written by Emma Martin
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  • List of Curios

    Bell, Charles Alfred

    Author: Bell, Charles Alfred
    Description: A typed object catalogue from Bell's handwritten notes on a wide variety of objects from his personal collection. This information often contains, the date he obtained an object, its provenance (including where and who he acquired from) and the person responsible for giving him the information. The process of writing the inventory began in December 1912 and continued until the late 1930s.

  • Tibet: Catalogue of Exhibits

    Tankard, Elaine

    Author: Tankard, Elaine
    Publisher: Liverpool Public Museums
    Date: 1953-03
    Description: Introductory essay and catalogue entries, in themes, for the 1953 exhibition; 'Tibet', held at the Walker Art Gallery.

Object view = Humanities
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