Eye Spy!

January 2009

Watch out for this one.

This object is a striking feature of the Inquiry Centre at the Queensland Museum, South Bank. What is it?

Answer

This is a slit drum. It stands almost 3 metres tall and was expertly carved from a solid tree trunk.  Huge eyes are carved into the upper end. The centre of the trunk is hollowed to create a resonating chamber. This was done by using an adze within the confines of the narrow slit opening. An adze is like a small sharp-edged mattock. This particular drum is from Vanuatu and was made before 1979. It was acquired by the Queensland Museum in 1985.

Slit Drum from Vanuatu, pre-1979.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.