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20th C. Papuan Massim Wood / Lizard Skin Kundu Drum

Papua New Guinea, Milne Bay Province, Trobriand Islands (sometimes Kiriwina Islands), Massim people, ca. 20th century CE. A dark wood drum, known as a kundu, with a long, hourglass-shaped body and a central handle. The top has lizard skin stretched across it, secured with rattan; loose lizard skin hangs over the edges. Projecting from the sides are multiple depictions of human faces and lightly raised geometric and zoomorphic patterns. Incised lines in these decorations have been filled in with white lime inlay, which is a common characteristic of Trobriand art. The Trobriand Islands are a series of coral atolls off the southeastern coast of Papua New Guinea with a distinctive culture. Size: 8.5" W x 39.5" H (21.6 cm x 100.3 cm)

These drums are made throughout Papua New Guinea, from a variety of local woods, and come in many forms - some dramatically carved like this one, others painted bright colors, and they are made through a complex process of hand-carving and burning that has been repeated for centuries. When in use, blobs of wax, honey, or coal tar are sometimes put onto the skin to alter the drum's sound.

See a very similar drum at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (ETH26-1973).

Condition: Beautiful condition, with light patina from age. Small areas of wear around the rattan that holds the skin in place.

Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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