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Images from The Beede Gallery

Buffalo Horn (Ngeku), Nepal, 20th Century

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Front view NMM 2352.  Buffalo horn (ngeku), Nepal, 20th century Side view

NMM 2352.  Buffalo horn (ngeku), Nepal, 20th century. Water buffalo horn with applied cuffs and fittings of copper and silver. Coral and turquoise stones embellish the metalwork. Prominent sea dragon (makara) head with ears, nose, mouth, and horns. Decorative elements include the auspicious symbols of Tibetan Buddhism. Traditionally played by members of the Nepali musician caste to entertain aristocratic Buddhists living in Nepal. Survives today in the music of street performers and in local festivals. Ethel Gunderson Fund, 1977.

The Sea Dragon (Makara)

Sea dragon head

A chased-silver makara (sea dragon) head is prominently featured above the bell. Two wire barbels protrude from it's nose; it's eyes are formed by two turquoise stones set in raised wall mounts; and, one red coral stone is centered on it's forehead. A silver badge (below), also depicting a makara, is attached to the bell with two copper pins. Makara images are also prominently featured on the instrument's chased copper bell.

Sea dragon badge attached to bell

Close-up Views of Four of the Eight Auspicious Symbols on Ngeku

Conch shell on bell
Golden Fish on cuff
Parasol on cuff
Conch shell on bell

Conch Shell

Golden Fish



Auspicious Symbols in Context on Chased Copper Cuffs

Conch shell motif on cuff
Fish motif on cuff

Conch Shell

Golden Fish

Parasol motif on cuff
Decorative cuff



Auspicious Symbols and Makara (Sea Dragons) on Chased Copper Bell

Golden Fish and makara on bell
Conch shell motif on bell

Golden Fish and Makara (Sea Dragon)

Makara (Sea Dragon) and Conch Shell

Chased copper bell detail
Dragon on bell

Makara (Sea Dragons)

Makara (Sea Dragon)


A shallow-cup, silver mouthpiece is attached to conical, chased-silver mouthpiece ferrule on which auspicious symbols are set against a meandering flame background.


Literature:  Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, The Shrine to Music Museum Catalog of the Collections, Vol. II, André P. Larson, editor (Vermillion: The Shrine to Music Museum, 1982), p. 18.

Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, M.M. Thesis, University of South Dakota, May 1983, p. 80, plate XXVIII.

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Most recent update:   October 9, 2010

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