Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • unknown Abelam maker
  • drum, 1850s–1969
  • Where object was made: Huon Gulf, Lower Sepik, Papua New Guinea
  • miamba wood, lizard skin, cloth, pigment, plant fiber, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 56.5 x 19 x 18 cm width at handles in middle
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 22 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/16 in width at handles in middle
  • Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Franklin D. Murphy
  • Not on display
  • 1977.0028

Tall, narrow drum that narrows slightly in the middle. There is a carved wooden loop handle on one side of the narrow portion and a carved "M" shape on the other. There are fin-like projections above and below the "M" and shorter fin-like projections on the front and back, both top and bottom. There is a rounded triangular projection above and below the wooden handle, with a smaller loop at top and bottom. There is a strand of plant fiber tied through the loop handle.

The body of the drum is decorated with carved designs. The narrow portion has a pink key-like design on a brown field with a sawtooth pattern in dark brown on white above and below, then a smaller sawtooth in dark brown on a pink field. The smaller "fins" on the front and back are in a triangular area, defined by a dark brown and pink border. There are two small dark brown flowers in that field. The area outside of the triangle contains the longer side fins or projections, and has a white field with dark brown and pink spirals.

The drum head is made of lizard skin and appears to be held in place with a band of black cloth and unbleached cloth wrapped around an unidentified core.

Red pigment on the inside of the drum.