~ Detail Photos ~

This is a shamanic drum or "dhyangru" - a de rigueur component of the Himalayan shaman's kit. Shamanic animism remains a vibrant tradition in the sub-himalayan area commonly referred to as the "middle hills", so we are fortunate that we can still catch a glimpse of the living tradition that reveals much about tribal spirituality and healing techniques and how things might have been before the influence of the major world Religions of the area - Buddhism and Hinduism and later western style medicine took hold in this vicinity. The protective tutelary deities can be seen at the top portion of the drum handle. The faces are often assume a form that looks very much like the masks used in Tantric Buddhist cham dances or middle hills animist rites. This drum is no exception... the faces are typical of protective deities seen in the iconography of Himalayan religions. Dhyangru drum handles resemble giant phurbas and usually as seen here, have various carved motifs, which relate to the shamanic arts or spirit entities the shaman interacts with during trance and ritual healing. Here the handle seems to emerge from a stylized makara face and tapers dagger like to a point, exhibiting folk style carving of linear patterns and common shamanic imagery such as the trisul, bompa vase, and of course the intertwined serpents or Nagas - reptilian interdimensionals.

The dhyangru drum is an essential tool of the shamanic vocation for several different "tribes" (or jaats as we say in Nepali) among Nepal's central and north-central peoples. Almost all shamans in Nepal incorporate drums into their rituals but different styles of drums are used by different groups, and among some shamans in the far west, they do not drum themselves but have members from specific quarters of the community drum for them.

The dhyangru is probably the most familiar style of shamanic drum to those outside Nepal, and as many of you are well aware - it is a double sided drum, played with a bent stick, and the drum head is mounted on a long wood handle that resembles a phurba. A phurba is a ritual dagger used to subdue negativity in various forms.

Dhyangru drums are such a central aspect of many shamanic rites that their importance cannot be overstated. The shaman will beat the drum relentlessly for hours on end, drumming through the night and beyond. The rhythmic beats are accompanied by chants - long invocations and magical formulae that have been passed from shaman to shaman stretching back generation after generation into the most remote past. The drum itself becomes a power object, invested with "shakti" or even considered as the abode of tutelary spirits. The sound of the drum is the vehicle which allows the shaman's consciousness to travel to the spirit realms, and opens up the portals through which spiritual agents can interact with the shaman and those who the shaman is treating.



ITEM NAME:   Shaman's dhyangru drum
PRICE:   Email 
STATUS:   Available
PEOPLE/REGION:   Nepal middle hills


Wood with leather


Circa turn of 20th c


13" diameter drumhead
26" total length

Please note the item number and kindly e-mail your inquiries.


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