Unique ancestor figures. The figures have elbows and knees bent in praying mantis position.I would be very surprised to learn that there are other Astrolabe Bay drums with ancestor figures in any privat or public collection in the world.Carving at the opposite side of the handle is missing.Probably collected by a missionar from the Barmer Missionsgesellschaft.
"The drums of this region are distinguished from the Huon Gulf variety primarily by the handles. These end in a loop, said to represent a snake,whereas the handles of the Huon Gulf drums are perfectly plain. Also, the Astrolabe drums are tubular in shape and very seldom have the semblance of a waist. On the opposite side of the handle there is again the highly carved open- work projection, sometimes much longer than the handle. It is here meant to represent a stylized lizard or snake. No handle bands are present, but a design is incised on two or more raised surfaces, which encircle the centre of the drum.These are always band- like and never jaw shaped. The tympanum is again of Varanus skin, glued on.The open end is left round, and unornamented."
(excerpt from the book: Drum Types of Eastern New Guinea, by Aldo Massola ,1957)