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Object: Pate (slit drum)

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Title Pate (slit drum)
Materials wood
Classification musical instruments, slit drums
Dimensions Overall: 90mm (Height) x 466mm (Length) x 82mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Purchased unknown date
Registration number FE001518

This wooden pate (slit drum) is from the Cook Islands. On Aitutaki, in the southern Cook Islands, pate are called tokere. When a tini ka'ara (drum ensemble) is being played, the sound of the pate forms part of the main rhythm or beat. When accompanying dance performances, the pate rhythms direct body and hand movements. There are three different types of pate based on size. The smaller the drum, the higher the pitch.

A pate is made by cutting a hardwood branch or tree trunk and removing the bark. A number of holes are drilled in a straight line, then the bits between them are chiselled out to form a long opening. The most important part of the process is working out how much wood should be hollowed out from the centre slit as this, along with the shape of the opening, determines how high or low the pitch of the drum will be.

Acquisition history
This pate is one of several items collected in the Cook Islands by Reverend J J K Hutchin of the London Missionary Society and purchased from Mrs Hutchin in 1919.

Related information

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