Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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iya'lu dundun (talking drum)
  • Yoruba peoples
  • iya'lu dundun (talking drum), late 1800s–1975
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, leather, hide, cloth, brass, carving, braiding
  • Object Height/Diameter: 52 x 30 cm
    Object Height/Diameter: 20 1/2 x 11 3/4 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3147
Label Text

The two-headed, hourglass shaped drum (2007.3146.a) has strips of twisted hide stretched between both heads. Two decorative bands are tied at either end, covering the hide strips. These decorative bands are removeable. The bands are decorated with stripes of purple, green and light (may once have been white). There is an orange leather stripe and a dark brown leather stripe at the outside edge. The straps are edged with dark brown leather. There is a fringe of conical brass bells on the edge near the drum head. The straps each have three ties of braided leather at each end and another four attaching them together over the length of the drum at regular intervals.

The shoulder strap is made of needlepoint or tapestry. It is so degraded, I can't determine the design. It is edged and backed with dark brown leather. Each end is tied onto the drum with two leather ties.

The thin strip of twisted hide is tied around the middle of the drum, the end is left hanging loosely. It was possibly used to adjust the tension, by wrapping it around the twisted strips in the middle, making the drum "talk."