UH80061 Burmese Karen Frog Drum, a small bronze tribute drum (Heger Type III), Pazi (Burmese), pam klo’ (Karen) also known as “The Magical Bronze Pond” (Cooler - Terrestrial sequence IV, category A). 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 in bronze is ornamented with 4 frogs cast at four equidistant points on the tympanum, the center of which is decorated with an 8 pointed relief “star-of-foam”, having 8 butterfly impressions in the crooks of the star, surrounded by 15 die cast decorated bands in a variety of motifs, which are bordered by raised ridges alternating in patterns of single, double and triple ridges, all concentric to the center, these pond ripples starting from the center can be identified as waves (band 1), chain of grain (bands 2, 4, 12), radial rays (bands 3, 8, 13), floating ducks (band 5), two eyed owls (band 6), double chains of grain (bands 7, 9), 2 peaked wing birds, 2 skeletal fish each with a rosette in between (bands 10 and 11), lozenges (band 14), the final band (15) without decoration having a braided plait edge. The broad frogs in relief have bulging eyes and a ridge back with pointed beaks and they straddle the ridges of bands 12 and 15. The sides of the drum are also decorated with multiple ridges in 3 zones dividing die cast bands of lozenges, radial rays, chains of grain, double chains of grain, waves and feathers. The side double strap handles on opposing sides attached with rows of decorative plaiting and additional circular decoration on the spine of each strap. The handles used to suspend the drum when struck. There are 2 mock relief “seams” equidistant from the handles.
Dark bronze patina, with verdigris highlights in the decoration. The tympanum having an edge “chip”, two repaired areas on the body midsection and near the base where the casting was thin, evidence of interior tuning, minor surface wear consistent with age and use, otherwise fine condition.
Measuring: 14 inches high x 18-5/8 inches in diameter. Weight: 20 lbs.
18th. Century.
Ex Collection:
Private Collection, San Diego.

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


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