New Britain drum

New Britain drum ( Trommel Neupommern / Neubritannien ) Bismarck-Archipel

The use of drums are very important to all traditional ceremonies where drumming and singing relate stories of ancient ancestral beings who are invoked for protection and fertility.
Held in one hand while the other is used to strike the lizard-skin drum head.

"The skins of the lizards were simply dried and, without any further preparation, rolled up in a bamboo tube. Before use, the skins were softened in water, stretched tightly over the opening of the drum and firmly bound at the rim; the edge hanging out under the binding was pulled from all sides until the drumhead became evenly taut. First, however, the rim of the drum was smeared with the juice of a tree which glued the skin securely to the wood on drying. Another important material was the wax supplied by the stingless Trigona bees, pea-sized pieces of which were rolled and stuck to the drumhead. If these wax pieces were hit, the drum gave a pleasanter sound. During the dance every man had a nut-sized piece of wax stuck to the handle of the drum, to replace pieces which came off. If the skin began to sag during the dance, it was warmed at the fire to make it taut again, and it was occasionally beaten to tune it."
excerpt from: Bodrogi, Tibor (1961), Art in North-East New Guinea.p.79-81. Budapest: Hungarian Academy of Science.

Lender: The Wagner Family

Bodrogi, Tibor (1961) : Art in North-East New Guinea. Budapest: Hungarian Academy of Science.
Finsch, Otto (1888) : Reisen in Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und Neu-Guinea an Bord des Dampfers Samoa.
Finsch, Otto (1888) : Ethnologische Erfahrungen und Belegstücke aus der Südsee: beschreibender Katalog einer Sammlung im K.K. Naturhistorischen Hofmuseum in Wien.
Dark, Philip J.C. (1974) : Kilenge Art and Life. London: Academy.
Heermann, Ingrid (2001) : Form Colour Inspiration: Oceanic Art from New Britain. Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt.
Parkinson, R. (1999) : Thirty Years in the South Seas. Translation by John Dennison of Dreissig Jahre in der Suedsee. (1887)
Neuhauss, Richard (1911) : Deutsch- Neu- Guinea; Vol. 1- 3. Dietrich Reimer / Ernst Vohsen, Berlin.
Newton, Douglas (1999) : Arts of the South Seas, lists publications on particular types of East New Britain artworks.