The Asahi Shimbun Displays

Objects In Focus

The Sami magic drum

Until 18 January 2009   /  Room 3   /  Admission free

Sami magic drum
This display focuses on a drum made in Scandinavia in the 1600s by the Sámi people.

In the hands of a skilled shaman it was a magical weapon that could help to protect the community. Its skin is covered in painted designs including reindeer, the sun and moon, and a man in a boat travelling across the underworld sea. These represent guides and accounts of journeys to other realms – to the worlds of spirits and gods.

The Sámi live in arctic and sub-arctic Europe. Their homeland, named Sápmi, covers parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, as well as the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
The drum is one the Museum's most important objects. It belonged to the Museum's founder, Sir Hans Sloane, and it goes on special display to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Museum opening to the public.

Image: A Sámi shaman's drum made of wood and skin (detail).
Sámi, from northern Scandinavia, 16th-17th century AD.

   The Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading national newspaper


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