Deer Hide Drum with Lightning and Buffalo Track Design
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Plains Indian (Mandan) Deer Hide Drum with Lightning and Buffalo Track Design
 

Plains Indian (Mandan) Deer Hide Drum with Lightning and Buffalo Track Design

Mandan

Hand drums were used to keep the beat at dances. Early drawings show a row of a half dozen men playing single-headed rawhide drums at dances. These drums were made by covering a cedar hoop with wet hide. The legs were tied on the inside and a bridal buckskin thong was laced on the inside. As the hide dried, it tightened and shrank. For playing, a softheaded beater that was filled with buffalo wool was used. Buffalo hide was too heavy to be used for the drums. The thinner skin of deer and antelope vibrated rapidly when struck and produced a deep bass sound.

Most objects used had a connection with a dream or vision. This drumhead has a painting of buffalo tracks along the edge. The red circle and lines above it have wavy lines symbolizing lightning and thunder. It was believed that the sound created by striking the drum mimicked thunder and thereby generated special power.

#22

Plains Indian (Mandan) Deer Hide Drum with Lightning and Buffalo Track Design

Drum, Cedar Flute and Bone Whistle. This drum is similar to one given by the Mandan chief Ma-to-to-pe (Four Bears) to Prince Maximilian zu Weid.

 

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