Buhai, friction drum. The cylindrical shell is made of wooden staves arranged lengthwise, and it is open at the base. The single membrane is of rabbit skin with fur displayed. The membrane is held by a hoop formed from a narrow length of wood bent into a circular shape and fixed around the rim. A length of pink fabric and a multi-coloured ribbon are wrapped around middle of the shell. A hank of horse-hair is attached to the centre of the membrane.

The name 'buhai' means ‘bull', and it is the bellowing of this animal that the instrument is thought to resemble. To make this sound, the player’s wetted hands are pulled alternately along the strand of horsehair that passes through the skin. The buhai is traditionally played at New Year celebrations.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk