Known to be the musical instrument used in temples to appease the deity and enchant devotees, the drum accomplished feats in its gamut. An ornate musical instrument, the drum of Belgium glass at government museum at Egmore, Chennai, is unique but appears similar to the traditional mridangam and adorns the museum as a new variety of musical instrument made up of hollow and transparent glass of Belgium.
Purchased for Rs 65 in 1961, the instrument was a legacy bestowed upon the safe hands of the museum to treasure its timeless intonation. With shape like two bottomless flower pots joined together, its skin on both ends are transparent fastened by cotton strings measuring upto 21 inches in length and nine inches in diameter.
Speaking on the importance of the instrument, Commissioner of Museums, government of Tamilnadu, S S Jawahar said that the instrument resembled tradition and is a cultural symbol of Tamilnadu. He also said the instrument was a centre of attraction of the 150-year-old museum and was helping to spread awareness among the people about past tangible art forms.
Recognised as a cult instrument the drum is fascinating visitors with its artistic and glossy look. Amidst an array of old sculptures and various caricatures, the drum sits on its shelf reminiscing human ingenuity in devising innovative musical instruments.
A visitor said that the drum looked like a reincarnation of its older version. She said it upholds the heritage of traditional music and helped spread awareness about ancient musical instruments. With visitors thronging the museum to have a glance at the drum, the instrument seems to serve its traditional role of immersing people in its resonance.