A Rare Tibetan Double Sided Ritual Dance Drum ‘Damaru’ the long wooden handle carved with grinning skulls the skin covered drum with traces of painted polychrome, the twisted rattan cords hung with prayer ribbons an old wood drum-stick attached to the side
Old smooth polished patina to the handle
Size: 72cm long, 36cm wide – 28¼ ins long, 14 ins wide
Provenance: Ex Private French collection
Although silent meditation is a prominent aspect of Buddhism, large processions and noisy rituals accompanied by all manner of music and dance have also been integral to Buddhist religious life in Tibet since it was first introduced there from India in the 7th century AD. Most ceremonies involve chanting and the use of musical instruments, but are usually monastic services in which only males participate. However, there is one public spectacle called the ‘scapegoat’ ritual, a dance drama in which large hand drums such as this are beaten to fast and agitated music whilst troupes of demonic maskers leap, shriek and whistle wearing skull masks and skeleton costumes or masks representing snake, tiger, vulture and dragon heads. Eventually the dance concludes with the ritual triumph of benign Buddhist figures and all becomes quiet. Symbolic of cosmic vibration, the double-sided drum represents the dual nature of reality: the conventional and the ultimate.