- Registration number
- Item name
- Friction idiophone
- Indigenous name
- Associated cultural group
- Pacific > Papua New Guinea > New Ireland Province > Namatanai District
- Acquisition date
- January 01, 1948
- Acquisition method
- Foundation Donation from Unrecorded
- Raw material
- H: 650 mm W: 330 mm L: D: 230 mm Circum:
Artefact 828 is a large polished friction block featuring three undercut tongues. Overall it is 65cm long, 33cm high, and 23cm wide. The size of the tongues indicates a low, medium and high tuning. The rubbing surface has been well polished and has rounded corners – this is traditionally done with shark or ray skin, possible used in combination with sand. The sides of the instrument still show the rougher marks of a small adze or axe. It features marine snail shell opercula eyes and a decorative crest. The wood has a deep brown patina. On one side of the instrument there is an incised ‘V’ shape with a small serif on one arm (Gibson V 1999].
From the UQ Anthropology Museum exhibition 'Musical Landscapes of Lihir' March - August 2013, curated by Dr Kirsty Gillespie and the Lihir Cultural Heritage Association with Dr Diana Young.
The friction block idiophone is an ovaloid, wooden rubbing-block resonator which is geographically and culturally unique to peoples of New Ireland and the neighbouring Tabar Islands. The carving is essentially functional but may also include decorative motifs and zoomorphic characteristics including ‘eyes’. The timber is a light-coloured soft wood, probably Alstonis villosa. The ‘eyes’ are the sealing valve-plug opercula of the marine snail Turbo petholatus. Instruments usually feature three separate ‘tongues’ which vibrate as the hand, which is moistened or rosined (with saliva, oil, breadfruit or rubber tree milk / sap, and croton leaf sap) is drawn towards the body across the tongues’ surfaces.
The Foundation Donation comprises the items from L. P. Winterbotham's personal collection, which were donated to the University of Queensland in 1948 and form the basis of the Anthropology Museum.