Shaman's drum and baton

Image by Musée départmental de Solutré
The drum is oval in shape with intersecting leather straps and a metal crosspiece in the center. The opening in the crosspiece symbolizes the entrance into the mythical shamanic worlds. The drum is covered by the hide of a wild reindeer. Slight projections on the cover along the upper side of the rim are resonators and symbolize the ears of canines or nipples of a mythical animal. Rings with pendants attached to the inner side of the rim are helper spirits of the shaman. The upper rim edging the stretched hide is decorated with colored beads. During shamanic rituals the drum symbolizes the means of conveyance of the shaman through the worlds (e.g., a ferry or boat for the western Evenk; a female reindeer for eastern Evenk).

Yenisei region, 1915.

Wood, reindeer hide, metal, beads.

Diameter 68 x 46 cm, height 20 cm.

Coll. No 3786-4.

This baton belonged to the shaman, Agafon Grigoryev. It is carved of mammoth tusk and is covered on one side with reindeer hide. On the back side there are number of incised concentric circles in the center and a zigzag on the edges; the circle and the zigzag are filled with a black pigment. Above and below these designs are two anthropomorphic figures of the shaman's helpers during the "search for souls." The anthropomorphic figures and the rectangular plate with six rays inside are executed in thin metal using inlay techniques. At the end of the handle is a schematic image of a man's head symbolizing the spirit helper during sooth-saying.

Yenisei region, early twentieth century.

Mammoth tusk, reindeer hide, metal suede.

Length 33 cm.

Coll. No. 147-5/18.

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