Lot 205: Japanese Ko-Daiko Drum


Lot 205: Japanese Ko-Daiko Drum


Estimate: $700 – $1,000

Black urushi lacquered byou-uchi Ko-Daiko (Nagado-Daiko 16 3/8″ H x 13″ W at the head), long bodied. Decorated with mineral pigment paint over black lacquer depicting two dragons chasing a sacred pearl amid lingzhi style clouds and lightning. Very noteworthy is that the mitsudome design on the heads are encircled with a black chevron design that may be associated with the 47 Ronin of Ako.

All tacks and the hanger ring are forged iron. In addition to the martial use of the drum in Edo times, they also held a strong foundation in the court style music called Gagaku, performed in the castles and shrines across Japan including processional ceremonies, but not limited to that. Gagaku alone is one of the oldest styles of court music that is still being performed in the world today. The Saho (left side) ko-daiko exhibits a mitsudome design on both heads, and two dragons amid the clouds and lightning pursuing the sacred wish granting jewel signifying the thunder god.

Rare, shows signs of use and wear but is in undamaged condition, likely 18th or very early 19th c. The most prized and expensive are the Zelkova (type of elm), hollowed from a single piece of wood which this item may be, given its age. This may have been produced by the Asano Taiko Co. which has been in business since 1609. It is recommended that this be preserved for display or historic purposes and not used as a musical instrument.


Japanese Ko-Daiko Drum


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