OLAC Record

Title:Umbuŋ ‘Slit-drum’
Access Rights:Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
Bibliographic Citation:Darja Hoenigman (collector), Sipola Wambrumaŋ (performer), 2018. Umbuŋ ‘Slit-drum’ . TIFF/JPEG/MP4/MXF. DKH01-059_umbung at catalog.paradisec.org.au. https://dx.doi.org/10.26278/EBHJ-3W39
Contributor (compiler):Darja Hoenigman
Contributor (performer):Sipola Wambrumaŋ
Coverage (Box):northlimit=-4.16134; southlimit=-5.27824; westlimit=143.02; eastlimit=144.191
Coverage (ISO3166):PG
Date (W3CDTF):2018-08-15
Date Created (W3CDTF):2018-08-15
Description:Umbuŋ or TP garamut ‘slit-gong’ is an ideophone, made from the hollowed trunk of a tree with the same name. Umbuŋ, TP garamut (Vitex cofassus) is a tree with hard rot-resistant wood. It is also one of the few woods that are not eaten by termites. That is why we can see very old slit drums around in the villages, and in Awiakay land also in bush camps and in ancestral places. For the Awiakay, a slit-gong can be just an object, or it can embody a spirit, usually the main spirit of a clan’s men’s house. In such a case a slit-gong has a name, such as Wasim umbuŋa ‘Wasim spirit slit-gong’. In warfare times the Awiakay used to make cuts on their spirit slit-gongs, each cut representing a killed enemy. In this way the killed enemies were ‘offered’ to the spirit who’d given the Awiakay warriors the strength to kill them. In 2009 such marks could still be seen on the oldest slit-gong in the village. The spirits of slit-gongs remain present even if the physical object no longer exist. However, people can, at any point, decide to carve another slit-gong in place of an old or destroyed one, and perform a simple ritual in which to ‘redirect’ the spirit into the new slit-gong. People’s recent alienation from spirits (following the uptake of a Catholic charismatic movement in the mid 1990s) has also meant a decline in the importance of objects connected with the spirits. Apart from slit-gongs these were also bamboo flutes which were played in the men’s house during the initiation rite to represent the sound of spirits, and posts in the men’s house. Such objects have been left to decay, with new ones usually made just for everyday use. While communities of the Middle Sepik are renowned for elaborate wood carvings, Awiakay artifacts are less ornate. Only some older slit-gongs are elaborately carved, usually ones that are the embodiment of spirits and carry their names, while others have simpler (if any) carved designs. Slit-gongs are used both for signaling and in singsing (singing and dancing). The most common signal is that of an upcoming announcement, which reminds people to pay attention to what will be said. Another common signal calls people for a meeting, these days even for church services. However, slit-gongs are not only used for simple in-village announcements. As they can be heard far away, reaching far into the mountains in the south of Awiakay land, they can convey more elaborated messages to people in bush camps. Each totemic clan has its own drum signal, which is beaten on a slit drum to send a message to those who are in the forest. In addition to that, there are signals for men and for women, those announcing death, or the arrival of enemies. There are only few people left who know all the signals, people in a bushcamp sometimes misinterpret a slit-gong message from the village. However, they all recognise the sounds for death and danger, both of which mean that they must immediately return to the village. In the past, slit-gong signals were also used in post-mortem divination, when the spirit of the deceased was contacted in order to find out who was responsible for his or her death (for details on Awiakay slit-gong signals see Hoenigman 2007: 213-214; see also Telban 1998: 189-93). This string figure represents a slit-drum. Some makers ‘play’ it when the figure is finished, and then tell that they are now turning it into Wasim spirit drum. Images: 02: umbuŋ ‘slit drum’, final design of the string figure 03: Nason Olomaŋey with a slit drum Hoenigman, D. 2007. Language and Myth in Kanjimei, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. MA thesis, Ljubljana: Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Ljubljana Graduate School of the Humanities. Telban, Borut. 1998. Dancing through Time: A Sepik Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. . Language as given: Awiakay
Format:Digitised: no Media: audiovisual recording
Identifier (URI):http://catalog.paradisec.org.au/repository/DKH01/059_umbung
Language:Tok Pisin
Language (ISO639):tpi
Rights:Open (subject to agreeing to PDSC access conditions)
Subject (OLAC):language_documentation
Table Of Contents (URI):http://catalog.paradisec.org.au/repository/DKH01/059_umbung/DKH01-059_umbung-01.tif
Type (DCMI):MovingImage


Archive:  Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC)
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/paradisec.org.au
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for OLAC format
GetRecord:  Pre-generated XML file

OAI Info

OaiIdentifier:  oai:paradisec.org.au:DKH01-059_umbung
DateStamp:  2022-06-22
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for simple DC format

Search Info

Citation: Darja Hoenigman (compiler); Sipola Wambrumaŋ (performer). 2018. Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC).
Terms: area_Pacific country_PG dcmi_MovingImage iso639_tpi olac_language_documentation

Up-to-date as of: Tue Nov 8 11:52:53 EST 2022