On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
This waisted drum is one of the earliest examples of a musical instrument from the Eurasian steppes in northeastern China. The decorated end was originally covered with a membrane of thin animal skin that served as a resonator. The three bands of running triangles and raised lines reflect the original stitching that would have affixed the membrane to the drum. Waisted drums of similar form, but sometimes of different materials, have been excavated from tombs at Pazyrk, in Siberia, and in northern China. Waisted drums fell out of favor in China in the Zhou dynasty (circa 1050–256 B.C.E.) but were reintroduced after the first millennium C.E., by foreign orchestras associated with Buddhism on the ancient Silk Roads.
7th century B.C.E.
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Drum, 7th century B.C.E. Bronze, 9 x 5 7/8 in. (22.9 x 14.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 2003.82.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2003.82.1.jpg)
overall, 2003.82.1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2004
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Hollow bronze drum, with narrow waist and large open circular ends. The piece is undecorated except for three concentric bands of repeated triangles alternating with incised lines at one end. Mottled green patination.
Condition: Very good
This waisted drum is one of the earliest examples of musical instruments from the eastern Eurasian steppes in northeast China. The decorated end was originally covered with a membrane of thin animal skin that served as a resonator. Compare the geometric decoration of the steppes with the coiled-serpent pattern on the "Tripod Food Vessel" from central China to the right (69.164.14) and the design of a heraldic bird and two flanking tigers on the "Bell" from southwest China to the left (2003.3.1). (Gallery Chat Label, 2005)
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