Aje [adja, adscha, āži]
- Barbara B. Smith
- , revised by Jessica A. Schwartz
[adja, adscha, āži]
Single-headed Hourglass drum of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. Most descriptions indicate that it was introduced from Melanesia, possibly through Pohnpei, where the Aip resembles it in structure. The long-waisted body (about 65 cm tall, diameter at the ends 20 cm) is crafted from breadfruit wood. The head, made from the inner lining of the stomach or bladder of a shark, is tied over one end by a cord of fibrous plant material. The drum is held on the lap or under the left arm. Finger and hand strokes, and playing positions (centre or rim), are differentiated. One, two, or three aje were played, almost exclusively by women, to accompany chanting or singing, sometimes with dance or pantomime. The aje was also beaten by women as a signal, to encourage men during battle, and to keep canoes together during nighttime voyages. Christian missionary intervention threatened the aje with extinction after the early 20th century, when no extant examples were known in the Marshalls....