Key'papeethota

Water Drum

Key'papeethota

Water Drum

 

The water drum in the Shawnee exhibit is a contemporary piece is for display purposes only.

The water drum is one of the primary instruments used in worship at Shawnee ceremonial grounds. The White Oak water drum includes elements that reflect the Shawnee understanding of the world. Before a dance begins, an elder male prepares the drum. A soaked brain-tanned deer hide is affixed to the shell of the drum. Likely made of wood or ceramic in the past, drums are now often made from an iron kettle. The head is affixed to the shell by tying cordage in a specific manner around seven black round stones. The way that the cordage is tied creates a star pattern on the bottom of the drum. This was the inspiration for the star design for the STCC fireplace. 

For more information about the ancient origins of the water drum, see: Barnes, B.J. & Lepper, B.T. “Drums Along the Scioto River, Interpreting Hopewell Material Culture Through the Lens of Contemporary American Indian Ceremonial Practices.” 14:62 World Archaeological Congress (2018): 62-84. 

 

Process of Tying a Water Drum