National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home  Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index

 

Rattle, Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea
Late 19th/Early 20th Century

Click on images below to see larger images

NMM 1483.  Rattle, Sepik River region, Papua New Guinea, late 19th/early 20th century

NMM 1483. Rattle, Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea, late 19th/early 20th century. Nut husks from the kepayang tree, strung together with a fibrous material. After the nuts were removed, the husks were hollowed out and boiled to neutralize a poisonous acid present in the nut meats. Rattles such as this one are often tied around a dancerís wrists or ankles to accentuate the rhythm of the accompanying music and are part of elaborate and colorful dancersí costumes. Through their movements and costuming, dancers seemingly transform themselves into animal spirits or mythical beings. This reflects the belief, common throughout Melanesia, that music and dance are tangible connections between humans and the spirit world. Board of Trustees, 1976.



Rattle Handle and Nut Husks

Close-up of handle Close-up of husks

This rattle is made from kluwak nuts from the pangium edule, also known as the kepayang tree. These meaty nuts contain poisonous hydrocyanic acid and are boiled before being used for cooking or other purposes.

Go to Annotated Checklist of Musical Instruments From Oceania on Display at the NMM

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD   57069

©National Music Museum, 2008-2010
Most recent update:   October 9, 2010

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page