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Kayah Pazi (Frog) Drum. Drum is made of bronze with various patterning. The top of the drum features 4 sets of frogs, each with 3 frogs each and a twelve pointed star with concentric rings on the tympanum. The drum includes iconography of birds, fish, elephants, snails, frogs, and vegetation with geometric designs. One side of the drum has bronze loops from which the drum would traditionally be hung. The side opposite of the bronze loops depicts a two dimensional tree on the resonance case with three elephants and three snails.

Frog drums are a special category of bronze drums frequently used by those who inhabit Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. These drums are believed to have been produced by the Shan craftsmen in the Kayah region for the Karen. The Karen, a distinct minority people, settled the mountains between Burma and Thailand and were divided into subgroups including the Shaw, the Pwo, and the Kayah. As a result of war, many of these drums were sold to collectors in the 1970s. Respectable families would own a drum or two which were used in ritual and seen as sacred objects which were used in ceremonies as the instruments and focus of offerings. The Karen believed that ownership of a frog drum bestowed the triple boons of wealth, status and security upon those who owned one. The Karen currently make up approximately 7% of the population of Myanmar.

This is a "Karen" type III drum which is distinguished by graceful lines on the resonance case with less pronounced tympanum overlap of the resonance case (about 1 inch). The decorative designs are smaller and consist of birds, fish, rosettes and geometric designs along with designs of vegetation on the resonance case. The type III drum often has three dimensional elephants and snail shells along with vegetal designs where the number of elephants and snail shells match the number of frogs stacked in each set. In the case of this drum, there are three elephants and three snail shells to match the three stacked frogs in the 4 sets on the tympanum. This type of design is normally seen on drums from a later time period (19th-20th century). The tympanum and body are decorated with stylized motifs with two small pairs of handles that would be used to hang the drum at a 45 degree angle.


Musical Instrument, Drum

Original Medium



65 cm diameter x 49 cm height



Date Information

Ca. 1800-1893

Artifact Number


Original Collection

Mike Mansfield Collections, Mss 65, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana

Holding Repository

University of Montana, Montana Museum of Art and Culture

M84-017 (8).jpg (2055 kB)
M84-017(6).jpeg (3418 kB)

Digital Publisher

University of Montana-- Missoula. Mansfield Library

Image Credit

Image credit: Micaela Connolly, University of Montana

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Musical Instrument, Drum

Image Location