Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Intersects: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
Click image to enlarge +

Object description

  • Yup'ik artist
  • Drum, Late 19th century
  • Bladder, paint, wood
  • Cape Vancouver, Northwest Alaska, United States
  • L: 20 1/2 in, W: 12 1/2 in, D: 5 3/8 in (L: 52.1 cm, W: 31.7 cm, D: 13.7 cm)
  • Gift of Israel Albert Lee, 1910
  • E13084
  • Played as the only instrument accompanying Yup'ik dance and song
  • Probably used by shaman during winter ceremonies

This drum, made from a sea-mammal bladder, was likely owned by a shaman. The handle depicts spirit helpers who enable shamans to communicate with other worlds. The circular designs, depicting land and sea animals, refer to seasonal cycles of hunting and spirituality in Yup'ik culture.