drum membrane

Sami drum

The membrane-covered oval or circular rune drum played an important role in Sami ceremonies. It is generally used for the shamanistic Sami ceremonial drum. The term magic drum is an old judicial term for a rune drum in use from the 16th to the 19th century. In that period the use of a "rune drum" was considered to be a serious crime and the accused was often sentenced to death.

Missionaries give this picture of usage:

A ring or some other accoutrement, probably symbolizing a frog, was during rituals moved around on the drum membrane, which contained some hundreds of runes (elks, sun, thunder, etc.). From its spontaneous selection of a given rune, predictions and conclusions were made from the matched rune itself and the path that the ring would take in selecting it.

Unfortunately, only about 70 drums have been preserved until today. Probably the most well known is the Linné drum - a drum that was given to Carolus Linnaeus during his visits in the northern Sweden. He later gave it to a museum in France, and recently it was brought back to the Swedish National Museum.

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