Skull hand-drum

Ch'ing dynasty (A.D. 1644-1911)
Height: 8.7 cm Length: 15.6 cm Width: 13.7 cm

Hand-drum made from the skull-tops of a boy and a girl joined together at the tops and covered with lamb or monkey skin. The skin is dyed green and is decorated with a fine-line drawing of a dragon. Gilt ornaments are fixed to the edges of the skin and inlaid with beads of coral and turquoise. The narrow waist of the drum where the two skulls are cemented together is encircled by a band of gilt metal decorated with thin gold thread patterns and set with pieces of turquoise. Two pairs of clappers are attached to the band, and also a free ring from which hangs a long, fringed streamer composed of amber beads, a triangular gold plaque and a row of various hued cords with knots in the middle and tassels at the ends.

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