Unique ancestor figures. The figures have elbows and knees bent in praying mantis position. I would be amazed to learn that there are other such Astrolabe Bay drums with ancestor figures in any collection in the world. Carving at the opposite side of the handle is missing. It comes from an old German ( Wuppertal-Barmen ) collection. Probably collected by a missionary from the Barmer Missionary Society.
"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)
Drums on photo No.6 and 7: Astrolabebai Trommel Barmer Missionsausstellung 1922 Aufnahme-Nr.fm626716 Trommeln copyright: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg