Melanesian (Huon Gulf?, Papua New Guinean)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

Apa with open end carved to resemble crocodile jaws, and incising highlighted with lime. The lizard-skin head may be attached with an adhesive containing human blood.

Single-headed, hourglass-shaped drums often with a central handle, distinct from the cylindrical, freestanding drums of Polynesia, are found only in Melanesia. In New Guinea and surrounding islands they are called by various names including apa and kundu, a pidgin dialect term. The drumheads are made of reptile skin in the lowlands and of opossum hide in the highlands. These drums are played almost exclusively by men to accompany songs and dance.

Apa, Lizard skin, Melanesian (Huon Gulf?, Papua New Guinean)

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