UH80017 Burmese Karen Frog Drum, a fine bronze tribute drum (Heger Type III), Pazi (Burmese), pam klo’ (Karen) also known as “The Magical Bronze Pond”, 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 and placed at four equidistant points on the outer edge of the tympanum, the center of which is decorated with a 12 pointed relief “star-of-foam”, having 12 butterfly impressions in the crooks of the star, the star points touch the first set of triple ridges resembling ripples that delineate concentrically the 16 die cast decorated bands in a variety of motifs, starting from the center the designs can be identified as radial rays (bands 1,6), tiny raindrops (bands 2,3,7,8,13,14) ducks (bands 4,12), a complex pattern of three “fish filled birds”, alternating with three almond shaped eyes (bands 5,10,11), thunder (band 9), continuous lozenge (band 15) and the outer band (band 16) undecorated ending with two raised ridges and a braided edge. The sides of the drum are similarly decorated with sets of triple ridges in 3 zones with 16 die cast bands in between of radial rays, raindrops, continuous lozenge, vegetation and waves, side double strap handles on opposing sides, used to suspend the drum when struck, two unadorned relief “seams” equidistant from the handles. Under one handle a three dimensional raised image of 6 sheaves of rice resembling a foliate tree with tendril curls, an elephant on center followed by three snails. The possibility exists that one elephant remains and originally the design would have accommodated 3 elephants on the central stalk of rice sheaves.
Variegated verdigris greenish patina. Fine casting overall with good die cast detail, the body has seven pin hole points randomly scattered about where the casting was thin, some have later repairs from the inside resulting in minor discoloration on the outside surface, otherwise the overall surface patina is consistent with age and use, fine condition.
Measuring: 19-3/4 inches high x 24-3/8 inches in diameter. Weight: 38 lbs.
Late 19th. Century.
$7,000.
Ex Collection:
Dr. Verne Chaney, New York

Karen Poem:
Rains come when frogs croak
Birds come when rains come
Fish rise when birds come
Floods come when fish rise
Elephants draw when floods come
Timber comes when elephants draw
The land prospers when timber comes.


To purchase or for more information, please call 619/977-6717 or e-mail
[email protected]

For Burmese Bronze Rain Drums, please go to our on-line article:
Frog Drums and their importance in Karen Culture, by Sylvia Fraser-Lu

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For pricing information, please call 619/977-6717 or e-mail
[email protected]