Burmese Karen Frog Drum, a fine large bronze tribute drum (Heger Type III), Pazi (Burmese), pam klo’ (Karen) also known as “The Magical Bronze Pond”(Cooler - Developmental Stage VII, Aerial Sequence, Category C three frogs, p.276)*, the Karen subsiding on slash and burn agriculture were rain dependent, and “rain drums” were beaten to bring on the rains for frogs croak prior to rain and the low frequency drum sounds excite the frogs to croak as well, and thus it was believed that the beating of the drum was a call for rain. This lost wax casting of a drum is ornamented with 12 frogs stacked in threes located at four equidistant points on the outer edge of the tympanum in a counter clockwise direction whereas the bottom frogs straddle the two outer bands. The center of the tympanum is decorated with a crisp 12 pointed relief “star-of-foam”, the star points overlap a ring of rosettes and touch the first set of triple ridges that alternate outward with double ridges, resembling ripples that delineate concentrically the 17 die cast decorated bands in a variety of motifs, starting from the center, the designs can be identified as tiny raindrops (bands 1,3,7,9,15) radial rays (bands 2, 8, 14), continuous lozenge pattern (bands 4, 10, 16), skyward looking ducks (bands 5, 13), flying birds in flocks of three alternating with sets of three rhomboid lozenges (bands 6, 12), a ring of rosettes (band 11) and the outer band undecorated with the exception of a group of three rosettes between each set of frogs (band 17) ending with one raised ridge and a braided edge. The sides of the drum are similarly decorated with sets of triple ridges alternating with double ridges in 3 zones with 19 die cast bands in between of radial rays, raindrops, continuous lozenge pattern and skyward looking ducks, side double strap braided handles on opposing sides, used to suspend the drum when struck, four relief “seams” equidistant from the placement of the frogs. Under one handle along the seam is a three dimensional procession lead down the side of the drum on a vegetal stalk with curled fronds by a large elephant followed by two smaller elephants, followed by three snail curls decreasing in size headed in the opposite direction.
Verdigris greenish bronze patina indicating a high copper content. Evidence of residue relief bosses from the casting rods. Fine casting overall with a slightly pitted tympanum surface and light die cast detail, evidence of interior “tuning”, the medium weight body has one pin hole and a minor small one inch tear near one of the seams, no evidence of restorations, otherwise the overall surface patina is even and consistent with age and use, overall fine condition.
Measuring: 20 inches high x 25 inches in diameter. (51cm x 63.5cm)
Weight: 45 lbs.
Late 19th Century.