The nepalese shaman is the bridge, the link and mediator between the real and invisible world.
The double sided membrane drum Dhjangro is the peculiar, indispensable, and one of the most important, pharaphernalia of the western nepal shamans.
Small metal objects and seeds are hooked inside the drum.
The drumstick is named Gajo.
The double sided drum Dhyangro has a close morphological, but not iconographic, affinity with the analogous double sided tibetan drum called NGA-CHEN in which we can re-find an handle, in a form of lotus, installed in the wodden frame of this double sided instrument.
According Mr Eric Chazot some shamans of the western Nepal don’t use the drum themselves, so the musical accompaniment, essential for the trance, is provided by the untouchables (Art and Shamanism in the Himalayas, on Tribal Arts, 1:1/2000) http://www.tribalarts.com/feature/himalayas/
The top section of the Phurbus/Dhyangro handle is normally constituted of three faces with different expressions representing human emotions: one wrathful, one indifferent, the third Joyful.
A Vajra (in Sanskrit or rdo-rje in Tibetan) or thunderbolt-diamond is carved in the central part of the item held in place by “eternal knots”. On the top of the triangular blade of the Dhyangro handle/phurba we can normally find the representation of the sea-divinity named Makara (in sanskrit,chu-srin in Tibetan) a monster half crocodile and half elephant. Seldom the makara is replaced with the effigy of Garuda or like in one example of our collection by the really geometric representation of a ram-head. Rarely by anthropomorphic figures. In one piece of our collection the makara figure is ‘crowned’ with three human primitive faces.
According to Mr Francoise Pannier the central structure of the item, in which the Vajra is positioned vertically above the skull of the Makara could recall the myth of Indra freeing the waters of the earth and killing the serpent Vritra who had stolen all the water of the world (‘Phurbu, Un hypothese sur ses origines’ in Art Chamanique Népalais, Editions Findakly, Catalogue of the exhibition Masques & Arts Tribaux Himalayens, Galerie Le Toit Du Monde Paris 2007).http://www.letoitdumonde.net/actualites/index.html
The blade bursts from the jaws of the Makara and has a three sided strucure, in which are traditionally carved single or entwined pairs of snakes (naga in sanskrit, klu in Tibetan). Their talismanic presence gave to the item the power to make it rain, they are also the guardians of the water and of the undeworld.
Others subjects carved on the singles blades are the moon and the sun, the trident (Trisul) symbol of the God Shiva, representation of shamans in namaste posture or holding a Dhyangro, the ritual vase bumba, the water bowls etc.
RICHARD LAIR COLLECTION
AN IMPORTAN AND UNIQUE TAMANG’S SHAMANISTIC KIT
FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTION