Alligator drum

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The alligator drum is a type of drum once used in Neolithic China, made from clay and alligator hides.

Alligator drums have been found over a broad area at the Neolithic sites from modern Shandong in the east to Qinghai in the west, dating to a period of 5500–2350 BC. In literary records, drums manifested shamanistic characteristics and were often used in ritual ceremonies.[1] Drums covered with alligator skin for ceremonial use are mentioned in the Shijing.[2][3]

During the Archaic Period, alligators probably lived along the east coast of China, including southern Shandong. The earliest alligator drums, comprising a wooden frame covered with alligator skin are found in the archaeological sites at Dawenkou (4100 BC – 2600 BC), as well as several sites of Longshan (3000 BC – 2000 BC) in Shandong and Taosi (2300 BC – 1900 BC) in southern Shanxi.[4]


  1. ^ Liu (2007),123
  2. ^ Sterckx (2002), 125.
  3. ^ Porter (1996), 53.
  4. ^ Liu(2007),122


  • Liu, Li (2007). The Chinese Neolithic: Trajectories to Early States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-01064-0.
  • Porter, Deborah Lynn (1996). From Deluge to Discourse: Myth, History, and the Generation of Chinese Fiction. New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-3034-0.
  • Sterckx, Roel (2002). The Animal and the Daemon in Early China. New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-5270-0.