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date: 25 January 2020


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Small barrel drum of the Han Chinese, found especially in areas of North China. The name huagu (‘flower drum’) refers to the use of flower motifs in its body decoration or on a colourful brocade wrapping. In construction and size, the huagu resembles both the larger yaogu (‘waist drum’) and the bofu drum used in court rituals. On all types, both ends are covered by a tacked head and struck with slender beaters. Sizes vary, the huagu measuring roughly 33 cm long, its heads about 12 cm in diameter; the yaogu, up to 49 cm long, with heads of about 20 cm. Both drums are held at the player’s waist, suspended from the shoulder by a silk band attached to two rings mounted on one side of the drum.

The huagu is used in a dance-song tradition which started in the Fengyang district of Anhui province during the Southern Song dynasty (12th–13th centuries ...

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