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Hand Drum
Hand Drum, 17th century
Black and gold lacquer on wood
10 x 3 3/4 inches (25.4 x 9.5 cm)
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with the Hollis Family Foundation Fund and with funds contributed by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, Priscilla Grace, Colonel Stephen McCormick, the Honorable Ida Chen, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Graffman, Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson, 2002
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Looking Questions

  • This handheld musical instrument is missing some important parts. What kind of instrument could it be?
  • What designs appear on the surface? Describe the colors and shapes you see, as well as the background.
  • How big do you think the instrument is? Why? Imagine that the pears and leaves are very tiny. Does that change how big the instrument appears?

Research Idea

Many societies, past and present, use drums for music and ceremony. How many types of drums can students find on an Internet search, or by looking in books? In what ways are drums used? How do musicians hold the drum? Why are drums found in so many cultures? Have students research a famous drummer and learn how and why he or she chose the drum as a musical instrument.

Art Project: Create Your Own Makie-e

The delicate shading of the colors on the hand drum is gold dust carefully sprinkled on wet, sticky lacquer. This technique is known as makie-e. Students can make their own design using glitter. First, have students draw a picture and then decide which parts to fill in with glitter. Next, paint watered-down glue onto the areas to be filled then carefully sprinkle the glitter onto those areas.

Art Project: Build a Percussion Instrument

Drums make sound because they have a hollow center, like this Japanese hand drum. Have students bring in, or supply them with, a hollow container, like an empty coffee can, plastic detergent container, milk bottle, even a two-liter soda bottle. Students can tap on each type of object and chose the one with the sound he or she likes best.

Next, cover the container to make it look beautiful. Using thin paper like tissue paper to begin, apply Elmer's glue and stick the paper to the container. Then they can add newspaper or origami paper. Students might create a collage of images they like. The thickness of the cover will change the sound of the instrument the student is creating. A thicker covering will mute the sound of the drum. Finally, students can decide to play their percussion instrument with their hands, a stick, or a wooden spoon.

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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