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date: 14 November 2019


  • Alan R. Thrasher


Large barrel drum of the Han Chinese. The jiangu (‘mounted drum’) has a moderately convex shell about 100 cm long, and two heads of cowhide about 70 to 80 cm in diameter secured to the shell by circumferential rows of tacks. The drum is mounted horizontally on a post anchored in a base of bronze or wood. The post passes through the shell, holding the drum approximately 170 cm above the base. Historically the drum was covered with an elaborate canopy, with tassels hanging from its corners, a feature retained in the main Confucian shrine drums and in the Korean kŏn’go. The drum is struck with two wooden beaters on one head only. A related drum of similar size is the yinggu (‘responding drum’), known in Korea as Ūnggo.

The jiangu is one of the most ancient Chinese drums. A similar drum is depicted in c12th-century bce oracle bone inscriptions, and a ...

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Asian Music