- Alan R. Thrasher
Categorical name for Chinese drums. A prefix is usually attached to specify type. While of a wide variety in size and usage, most indigenous Chinese drums have a barrel-shaped body with two heads of oxhide tacked on (rather than laced together), and are struck on one head with two beaters. Pictographs from the Shang dynasty (c16th–11th centuries bce) and archaeological finds of two barrel-shaped drums (dating between the 13th and 10th centuries bce) attest to the appearance of such drums by that time. The excavated drums are made entirely of bronze (including their heads). They rest horizontally upon four short legs and are decorated with raised saddle-shaped images on their upper sides. One drum, found in Hubei province, is about 45 cm long, with a head diameter of about 40 cm; the other, now in a Japanese collection and of unknown provenance, is smaller. Historically known as ...