Art/ Collection/ Art Object


19th century
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Native American (Skidegate or Haida)
red cedar, hide, pigment
23 15/16 × 24 1/4 × 3 in. (60.8 × 61.6 × 7.6 cm)
Membranophone-single-headed / frame drum
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
Not on view
This drum is made of split red cedar that has been incised with crosshatching on the interior wall to relieve the surface tension inherent to the bending process. The painting on the drumhead illustrates two memorial, sometimes known as totemic, figures. Painted in a stylized manner that is not characteristic of Haida two-dimensional art, the figures most likely represent spirit guides, perhaps a wolf or bear, and an otter or salmon. Although now faded, the pigment used to create the painting is primarily red and black. The vibrant blue of the smaller figure's eye is evidence of synthetic pigments that were introduced into the area.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Oceanica and America. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1913, vol. II, pg. 91, ill.

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