Bàtá (ìyáàlù) drum

Yoruba people

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

The ìyáàlù (mother) bàtá drum is the largest of a set of drums (typically three to four) used by the Yoruba people. For at least five centuries the drum set was used as a speech surrogate and was associated with Sàngó, Esu Egungun, Oya and other Yoruba orisa cults. At the end of the 20th century the repertoire changed to include secular and, although rare, church music. Bàtá drums are important throughout the African diaspora playing essential roles in New World Lucumi (Santeria) in Cuba, Puerto Rica and the United States where they are used in sacred and secular contexts.

Bàtá (ìyáàlù) drum, Wood, hide, fabric, Yoruba people

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.