Slit Gong Drum Finial Sepik River Papua New Guinea
This old fragment depicting a female ancestor was one of the terminus or handle on a large Slit Gong Drum often called a Garamut Drum. It is from the Coastal Sepik River area in Papua New Guinea. Almost every village had one or more of these types of drums, they were used during traditional ceremonies and often kept in the Men’s Cult House or Haus Tambaran. When old drums were totally destroyed by time the finials like this example were kept as family heirlooms to remember the person or family member who carved the drum originally. Drums were also used to convey messages between villages not too far away where one could still hear another villages drum. Each drum had a heavy drum beating stick where you hit the side of the drum. See the photo above which shows the type of drum this is off of.
This drum finial was from a large drum from the late 19th Century.
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