Description: Slit Gong

In some areas of Papua New Guinea, an island in the Pacific Ocean, slit-gong drums are played to accompany ritual performances.  They are located in or near the ceremonial men’s house; the sacred dwelling place of clan spirits, treasures, and initiated men.

These drums traditionally functioned as musical instruments as well as a means of long-distance communication.  In parts of New Guinea, the sounds produced by slit-gong drums were believed to be the voices of supernatural beings.  A range of tones and sounds could be produced depending on the style of the beating stick and the varying thickness of the sides of the drum. 

  • Culture: Kayan-Borbor, Papua New Guinea
  • Created: ca. 1940
  • Credit Line: Gift of Dr. James G. Zimmer, 79.19