Drum

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Registration number
918
Item name
Drum 
Category
Sound
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Australia > Australia > Queensland > Torres Strait Islands
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1948 
Acquisition method
Foundation Donation from Mrs D. Cameron 
Raw material
Wood; mammal skin; pigment
Dimensions
H: 575 mm W: 162 mm L: D: Circum:

Description

Wooden hourglass-shaped drum 918 is approx. 57.5 cm long and 16.25 cm at its widest point. The drum can be said to consist of three main sections: an upper, middle and lower section. Each is decorated with a series of carved patterns and motifs. The upper section is approx 22 cm in length. It consists of a wooden body, or main section with a tympanum (most likely reptile, perhaps snake, skin) stretched over the top of the opening. This upper section is decorated with a series of patterns. In the centre of the drum is a diamond – shaped motif. Within the diamond is a circle. The diamond motif extends outwards from this circle, first as a white, then as a red, and finally as a black layer. Surrounding this final black layer is a continuous red outline that becomes a series of spirals and joins the tympanum. Just below the tympanum and above the diamond motif are a series of three carvings. Each is approx 3 cm in length and width. Two are in the shape of an ‘X’, and the other is a quaver from musical notation. The middle section of the drum consists in itself of two parts. The first is simply a black mid-section approx 13 cm in length, and this separates the upper and lower sections of the drum. The other component is the handle. This handle extends outwards from the body of the drum and is decorated. On the lower section of the handle is a long, sinuous motif opening around a diamond. This motif is symmetrical on either side of the diamond. This sinuous motif continues on the upper portion of the handle, but against a red, rather than a white, background. The words ‘Torres Strait’ have been written in white on the handle. The lower section of the drum is identical in size and shape to the upper section, being approx 22 cm long and 16.25 cm wide. However, it does not have a black background. Rather, it is divided into two halves by a sinuous black strip around its middle section. Above this strip, against a red background, are a series of spirals in the form of waves. The outline of these spirals are black, and the spaces between them is infilled with white. Below the strip are a series of larger ‘waves’ against a white background. These spirals are also outlined in black, with the spaces between them infilled with red [James Murphy 1999].

Research notes

From the UQ Anthropology Museum exhibition 'In the Red; on the vibrancy of things' June 2012 - January 2013.

Part of Brisbane auctioneer Mr John Samuel Cameron's (died ca 1917) collection which was sold after his widow's death. Bought by Dr Winterbotham and C A Fitzgerald at auction. 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.

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