55. The Zikr Drum

Kashghar, Xingkiang, 19th century
Size: 2.20 m long

The Zikr, in this case, was a communal spiritual exercise carried out by a group of dervishes in their meeting-place, deep-breathing repetitions of a Name of God. This drum, hollowed out from a tree-trunk, was suspended on an iron bar between two columns of the portico, and beaten to keep the rhythm of breathing among those participating. Its deep-throated roar was one with the community for whom it was beaten. There are few such beasts in captivity, and my information about it comes indirectly from the Faculty of Music at Istanbul University.