The drums are the medium through which the shaman (pande) makes communication with the supernatural forces.
Therefore they are considered as sacred.
Various iron hangings around the drum hold great power as they are supposed to protect from some possible attacks form spirits and malefic beings.
The chepang drum "(...)generally varies in diameter which can be anything from forty to fifty centimeters, and the frame, which is about twenty centimeters wide, is made of wood from a tree called sandan in Nepali and bunsi in Chepang.
The membrane is made of goat’s hide.(...)The ring grip is fixed, internal and cross shaped.
It is usually made of the same wood as the frame and then covered with a strip of the same goat’s hide as that used for the membrane, though one can occasionally find iron grips in the shape of a cross.
There are a varying number of iron chains with different symbolic hangings fixed to the upper part of the frame by means of iron rings.
These are located on the inside of the drum opposite the membrane and usually face the pande during seances.
Chepang drum skins are never painted by the pande(...)"
excerpt from: Riboli, Diana (2000) TUNSURIBAN - Shamanism in the Chepang of Southern and Central Nepal.
"The shaman’s drum is not just a rhythm instrument with which faith healers add an acoustic component to their rituals.
It is a self-contained embodiment of the cosmos in which their owners travel in the course of their séances. (...)
The drum’s numerous functions—as a musical instrument accompanying the recitation of mythical songs, as a pacemaker of ritual dances,
as a vehicle on which the shaman travels through space, as a defensive and assault weapon against negative powers,
as a diagnostic and prognostic instrument - make it a kind of all- purpose companion to its owner."
MICHAEL OPPITZ :
Forschungen an den Rändern der Schrift
26 January – 14 April 2018
exhibition at Galerie Buchholz - Edit Daniel Buchholz
Oppitz, Michael (2013) : Morphologie der Schamanentrommel.
Oppitz, Michael (2013) : Schamanen im Blinden Land (5 DVDs + 2 CDs)
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