Saturday, November 1, 2008

Handmade Shaman Drums from Finnish Lapland

The Sámi drums are oval wooden frames (South Sámi gievrie) or bowls (North Sámi goavddis) covered with reindeer skin. The drum skins are decorated with traditional shamanistic patterns.

Characterized by a central Sun Cross and an unbroken path around the edge. Individual figures are commonly placed on the arms of the sun-cross, on the outer path or floating between these. The typical symbols on a Sami drum are gods (Thunder, Horn, Wind and Mother), people, reindeer and other animals and different kind of tools. Every drum is unique and one will never find two quite alike.

The Sámi (Saame in Finnish) have lived in Finland since ancient times. According to current belief, the Sámi are ethnically the offspring of development that covered many generations. They are thought to have descended from the people who settled in Fennoscandia after the last Ice Age, about 7,500 years BC.

The old Sámi religion was founded on an animistic world-view and a shamanistic form of worship in which drumming on the "runebomme" (ritual drum) and traditional chanting, yoiking, were of great importance. Nature was considered life-giving, and mountains, stone formations and lakes could be of help to the people if they worshipped them and brought them sacrificial gifts. Natural phenomena were gods. The sun (Paivo) had a central place, not as a personified god, but as a basic cosmic force, which extended its rays across the world and carried the personified gods on its rays. These gods were not people, but intermediary figures between human beings and greater forces. Dierpmis (the god of thunder) was worshipped fervently. Bieggolmmái (the god of wind), mánnu (the moon) and áhcolmmái (the god of water) were revered because they had the power to improve people’s conditions.

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