Lot 355: A Mimika drum
The drums are made from the wood of a tree with a soft heartwood. A piece of the trunk is trimmed into the rough shape of a drum. One end is hollowed-out a little and the piece of wood is then stood up-right, the hollowed-out end uppermost. The lower end is stuck firmly in the ground to prevent its falling over. The top-part is filled with water which is constantly and carefully replenished. Under action of the water, the soft heartwood quickly begins to rot. The softened parts are then removed. When half of the cavity has rotted away in this manner, the piece of wood is then reversed and the same thing is repeated at the other end.
The innermost part is then pushed through with a hard piece of wood or bamboo. The result is a channel that is widened through firing, the heat being regulated by bellows and the inside scraped by shells and pigs tusks. Sound internodes of bamboo are exploded by holding them into the fire. These explosions are caused inside the wooden channel are intended as sympathetic magic, being that the drum will produce a loud sound. The exterior of the drum is finished with an adze and pigs tusks, lizard skin and rattan. Papua, Indonesia. H 63,5 cm Lit: H. Geurtjens, Uit het modern stenen tijdperk, Cultureel Indië, V (1943), p. 107-108.
Auction date: September 12, 2018
Estimate: EUR 500-700,-
Auction house: Venduehuis der Notarissen, Den Haag, The Netherlands