India | Nagaland

Log Drum

Log drum is a ritualistic drum used by the tribal people of Nagaland. It is used for announcing a festival or the death of a prominent person. It is also used for raising alarm in case a tiger is spotted near the village or a fire has broken out. Each event has a specific rhythm attached to it. The sounds are produced by striking the drum using large wooden dumb-bells. It is given the same status as that of the village deity. This drum is believed to protect, guide and bless the person worshipping it.

In ancient days, this drum was used for announcing the approach or retreat of an enemy. It was also used while praying to the sun to reappear, in the event of a lunar or solar eclipse. Compared to ancient times, it is used in only a few villages nowadays.

The drum is constructed out of a singletree trunk with varying lengths and diameters. It may measure up to a length of 12 m and a circumference of 3 m. A huge head is carved at one end. A slit runs through the upper portion of the body.

The making of the drum is itself a ritual. Strict rules are observed and it is supposed to be made in the forest. A day is fixed for pulling it into the village. It is brought into the village amid lot of celebration, singing, dancing and shouting. It is installed in a sacred place, usually adjacent to a morung (dormitory for the youth).

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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