Slit drum

Registration number
Item name
Slit drum 
Indigenous name
totoo galamit (Lihir language) 
Barth Saien and Constantine Kabariu  
Associated cultural group
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > New Ireland Province > Lihir Island Group
Lihir Cultural Heritage Association (LCHA) 
Acquisition date
August 01, 2013 
Acquisition method
Donated by Lihir Cultural Heritage Association (LCHA) and Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA) 
Raw material
bamboo; acrylic paint
H: 80 mm W: 420 mm L: D: 80 mm Circum:


Bamboo slit drum with handles at each end; narrow slit carved along the top; the body of the drum is painted with blue, black, red and white vertical bands; green and yellow triangles at the centre; and green and white painted handles; 'Lihir Island' and 'Totoo 2012' painted in gold. Registration number 40655 marked with tag.

Research notes

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 making of these Lihir performance items was commissioned by LCHA for display in this exhibition.

Exhibition label: Barth Saien, painted text by Constantine Kabariu, 2012. The gold inscriptions on each totoo serve to identify the item but also the place. The largest island in the Lihir Island Group, Aniolam, commonly referred to simply as Lihir, is the location of a large scale gold mine, and thus is often known as ‘the island of gold’.

The slit drum is played by striking the body with a bamboo stick (40656). Other names are bamboo resonator and Totoo glamuit (Masahet dialect).

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