Tambourines (Daff) and Naqqar Drums - Aga Khan Museum
Aga Khan Development Network
The Aga Khan Museum: Wood and Lacquer - 20th century  Place your mouse over the image
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Wood and Lacquer

Object name
Tambourines (daff) And Naqqar Drums

Turkey or Egypt

20th century

Materials and technique
Wood, ivory, mother-of-pearl, metal, skin

various sizes

Accession number


The daff, also known as the riqq, is a percussion instrument of the tambourine family, and is found in varying forms in different parts of the Muslim world. Used in a wide variety of settings - folk and traditional art music, as well as in Sufi ceremonies - the diameter of the daff varies between 20 and 60 cm. The round single-headed drum consists of a goatskin membrane stretched over a wooden frame, often richly ornamented and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Attached inside the frame are metallic jingles such as pellet bells, rings, small cymbals and slightly convex or flat discs, all of which can be intrinsic to the performance. The three naqar drums are small hemispherical vessels of copper or brass over which a membrane is stretched. Naqars were originally made from goatskin stretched over the orifice of an abalone shell. These percussion instruments appear in pairs, one larger than the other. Two naqars were fixed to a belt (which ran through the loop on the brass frame) and were either looped over the saddle of a horse or carried by the performer. They were used in Turkish janissary bands and are the forerunner of both kettle drums and marching drums.

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21 pieces found