21 Dhodro Banam, Santal Banam, Santal People lutes, anthropomorphic lutes, Indian Tribal Art. With a writing of the French Artist Fernandez Arman 15 liuti tribali antropomorfi dei Santal del Nord India.

 ethnoflorence photo archive santal

"Santhal poetry is Santhal life; Santhal life is Santhal poetry"  (Archer W.G.  The Hill of Flutes: Life, Love and Poetry in Tribal India, New Delhi, S. Chand & Co (Pvt) Ltd 1974).


.ethnoflorence photo archive santal banam 3 f.a

About the Oral Tradition and Primal Elements in the Santhal Musical Texts see the interesting writing  by Mr Onkar Prasad  on http://ignca.nic.in/ps_01014.htm .


About these  musical instruments see the interesting feature "The Lutes of the Santal" by Benght Fosshag on: http://www.tribalarts.com/feature/santal/ .

ethnoflorence photo archive santal banam 5f. fr.v.dt.

Other  informations also on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santal_music and correlated links.


Read also on "Instruments de Musique Des Santal et Des Ho" Francois Pannier Galerie Le Toit Du Monde (http://www.letoitdumonde.net/) , Imprimerie Union, Paris 1991.

ethnoflorence photo archive santal banam zoomph. det.

 About the Santal tribal  Art see also:  http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6268451/28-santa...  at the moment the first and  only full screen selection of  ancient  Santal wedding litter panels of the web.

ethnoflorence photo archive santal banam palkee det.

 and  http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6163132/4-tribal... .

An interesting selection of Santal Parganas Scroll paintings is edited by Hervé Pedriolle on http://santalparganas.blogspot.com/ .


See also other Santal Banam of  the Arts Premiers - Primitive Art Collection of Bruxelles  on : http://sanza.skynetblogs.be/post/6241521/art-et-musique-d... 

dhodro banam  santal 10d

and http://sanza.skynetblogs.be/post/6250339/art-et-musique-d... ( important and famous the liute n. 10,  understanding  quality).


A Santal banam  from the collection of the Ranchi Museum, Ranchi Jharkhand its  recently edited on the new and interesting web site of the National Consortium of Tribal Arts and Cultures http://www.tribalartsmuseums.org/nctac.html (online  exhibition - Musical instruments)


Banam of Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

Object Name
Dhodro Banam

2nd half 19th century


Santal group of Munda people

Wood, hide, gut, metal

Overall: 18 x 15.9 x 89cm (7 1/16 x 6 1/4 x 35 1/16in.)

Credit Line
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 2004

Accession Number

Immagine 001

Frontal view.  

Immagine 002

N1 Top frontal view.  Monumental Style of the Santal sculpture. The same style, iconography,  and  frontal monumentality that we can find in some of the oldest and beautifulst wedding panels of the Santal Parganas tribe.  For a style comparation see the unique group of 27 items edited by Ethnoflorence  http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6268451/28-santa... (work in progress).

See also on http://www.tribalarts.com/feature/santal/f11.html and http://www.tribalarts.com/feature/santal/f12.html .

Immagine 003

N1 3/4 Top detail.  Dark wood with red reflexes of patina, from gaulic tree. 

 The Santals believe in the magical powers of this musical instrument, a medium between the human beings and the supernatural.

Immagine 006

N1 Back side top detail.

The Banam resume in its various parts the anatomy of an human being: head, ears, neck, chest and stomach.

The string is the most important part of the instrument, because it unites the other parts of the liute together, it's considered as the breadth of the Banam.

Immagine 010

N1 Side A detail.

The Head (Bonok) of the instrument represents the Space. Neck (hatok) and chest (koram) are directly connected with the Respiration and represents the equivalent natural element of the Air. The stomach (lac) represents the fire. The ears (lutur) the ether. The term banam means body and represents the earth.

Immagine 004

N1 Carved box detail.

Immagine 005

N1 Lower frontal view.

Immagine 007

N1 Back view with traces of use and red patina.

Immagine 009

Back below view, interesting the detail of an old and original restauration of the lute (in the same wood of the lute).


N 1 bis. Exceptional the museal quality of this artifact. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles, the item is  edited ( photos 9 and 11 ) in the catalogue of the exhibition "Instruments des  Santal et des Ho", curated by Francois Pannier in Paris (may 17- June 8 1991). This ancient dhodro banam is of the same hand of another banam of the New Delhi Museum, collected by Elwin Verrier. Another banam of the same stylistic group was edited by Bengt Fossag in the feature "Le luth des Santal" on Art Tribal- Automne 1996 (Figure 9 page 66)


N1 Bis. For a comparation see http://www.tribalarts.com/feature/santal/f9.html .


N1 bis Back top view.


N1 bis detail view.


N1 bis Exceptional  patina of the banam.



N1 bis back side view.

Immagine 011

N2 Frontal view

Immagine 012

N2 Top view.  Three dancers, dressed with a Sari, analogous subject we can find again or in some old photos of Elwin Verrier that in some wedding panels of the Santal Parganas tribe. 


Detail of a Santal parganas panel, the iconographic comparation it's evident. (Ethnoflorence Collection) more on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6268451/28-santa... .

 About the exhibition :" Palkee: Wedding Conveyances of North India" at the Crocker Art Museum of Sacramento (216 O street, CA 95814 USA)  see  also the really interesting link:  http://www.crockerartmuseum.org/exhibitions/exhib_pages/P... .


Immagine 017

N2 3/4  Top view. The rigid frontal, really minimal but at the same time also geometrical (see the verticality style of the face) and monumental style of the Santal sculpture it's evident in this photo. This style remember me some works of Henry Moore of the 40's. The African plastic tribal styles influenced the western art of the vanguard at the beginning of the century; personally I think that the Indian tribal styles was at that time of the same equally interesting, did not have the lucky to stay in the right place (Paris) and in the right moment (first years of 900s).

Immagine 020

N2 3/4 top view detail side B.

"...un viele Sarangi, venant du Santal, nom en soi, evocatour. Sa presence et sa personnalité nous interpellent. Ce petit chef-d'oeuvre de sculpture  attire notre regard au fond du sien.  C'est bien ici l'example d'un objet  d'artisanat, échappant a son usage pour acceder a l'intemporal".
Pierre Fernandez
   Arman - Armand (Nice November 17, 1928, NYC October 22 2005) on  ( "Voyages Immobiles Trente ans d'Aquisitions d'Art Primitif du Musée de la Castre" about an "viele sarangi - ethnie Santal, Nord Est de l'Inde" number Inv. 991.21.1. of the Cannes Museum (achat en 1991). The web-address of the Official Website of Arman is  www.armanstudio.com/ - 10k - 

Immagine 015

N2 Back side view detail.

To understand better the personality of Fernamdez Arman like artist  as well as tribal art collector  see the interesting exhibition catalogue "Africarmania: Arman et l'Afrique" (Pierre Nahon-Arman) http://www.ladifference.fr/fiches/livres/africarmania.htm...  or   www.amazon.ca/Africarmania-Arman-lAfrique-Pierre-Nahon/dp/2729114319 - 81k .

Immagine 019


N2 Frontal detail view.

Immagine 013

N2 Frontal detail view.

Immagine 014

N2 Another frontal detail view.

Immagine 016

N2 Back side view.

 Immagine 021

N2 Interesting the detail of the fish, carved in a primitive style, on the lateral surface of the lute.



2 bis.  Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.


2 bis. Dancers in  frontal and monumental posture. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.



N 2bis Top back side view.


N 2 bis Top frontal view detail.


N2 bis Top back exceptional detailed view.


 N2 bis Top back  detail view.


Immagine 022

N3 Frontal view.


A "Viele monocorde", Nom vernaculaire : "dhodro banam" , is in the Collection of Musée du Quai Branly of Paris  under the N° inventaire : 70.2007.48.1.  See more on http://www.culture.fr/recherche/?typeSearch=collection&am... .

Another interesting piece is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

The National  Museum of New Delhi has a large collection of musical instruments, from folk to classic, one famous antropomorphic Santal banam of this collection was edited by Stella Kramrisch in "Unknown India Ritual Art in Tribe and Village". http://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in/collection.html

The piece that I prefer is the Dhodro Banam of the Musée de la Castre of Cannes.

Immagine 023


N3 Top view.

Immagine 024

N3 Top view detail.

Immagine 025

N3 Side A top view. The style of this sculpture on the top of the lute it's really primitive. Raiders are common also in the iconographic style of the Santal panels.

ethnoflorence photo archive santal palkee dt.

N3 Same subject in a Santal Parganas panels. http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6268451/28-santa...

Immagine 026

Side B top view.

Immagine 027

N3 Side B, interesting the antrophomorphic style of the lute.

Immagine 028

N3 Side B view detail.

Immagine 030

N4 Frontal view.

Immagine 032

N4 Top view detail. Dancers dressed with Sari. Interesting the primitive style of the face, minimal but really expressive

Immagine 034

N4 top side view. From the side view the geometric primitive and minimal  style of the carved face of one of the dancer, it's more clear ... really understanding.

Immagine 033

N4 3/4 Top side view.

Immagine 029

N4 Another frontal view.

Immagine 031

N.4  Primitive carving on the frontal surface of the lute.



N4 bis Top frontal view. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.



N4bis Top frontal view detail.


 N4bis frontal  back and side view.

Immagine 035

N5 Frontal view of the carved couple on the top of the lute.

Immagine 036

 N5 Top frontal view detail.

Immagine 037N5 N5 3/4 top side A view detail.

Immagine 038

N5 Back top side view detail.



N5 bis Top frontal view. Courtesy Sanza Art Premiers Collection Bruxelles.


N5 Bis 3/4 back side view. See the stylistic detail of the hair and comapare it with the item n6.


 N5 Bis Back, frontal and side view.

Immagine 039

N6 Frontal view. 

Immagine 040

N6 Frontal view top detail.

Immagine 043

N6 Top side A view.

Immagine 045

N6 Another side A detail view.

Immagine 046

N6 top back side view detail.

Immagine 041

N6 Frontal carved box view.

Immagine 042

N6 Frontal below view.

Immagine 044

N6 side view, exceptional dark-red patina.

Immagine 047

N6 Back side view.

Immagine 048

N7 exceptional and unique from an stylistic view point  antropomorphic lute of the Santal  with five figures carved on the top. 

 "...The Santal ... carve their one-stringed lutes ... sometimes in the shape of woman ... transfiguring the resonance of the instrument into rotundities known from Hindu sculpture and brought to the tribal level by the simplifications and distortions demanded by the shape of the instrument. The prophetic head with its far-seeing inlaid eyes, traversed at the back by the tuning keys as a kind of
ear-ornament, carried aloft on a neck of ordinate lenght, is a noble mask. Through its thin lipped mouth a god may speak - as he
does through the  dance mask of another tribe, the Bhuiya...Arms and hands closely hug the curved plane of the sounding-box body
whose firmness is enhanced visually by the broad collar of the necklace....Sound and mask, the prophetic voice which speaks
through mask and instrument, link auditory and visual experience in one manifestation of the numinous." Stella Kramrisch "Unknown India Ritual Art in Tribe and village" Philadelphia 1968.


Immagine 049

N7 Top side view. Great patina, museum quality sculpture.

Immagine 050

N7  Frontal face view.

Immagine 053

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 054

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 056

N7 top detail  view.

Immagine 066

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 065

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 057

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 062

N7 top detail view.

Immagine 051

N7 carved box frontal view.

Immagine 052

N7 carved box frontal view.

Immagine 055

N7 side A view.

Immagine 058

N7 side A detail view.

Immagine 059

N7 side A view.

Immagine 060

N7 side A view.

Immagine 061

N7 side A view.

Immagine 064

N7 side B view.

Immagine 067

N7 top side B view detail.



N7 bis. Top frontal  and side view. Minimal and  really strong tribal style of the two faces. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.



N7 bis back front and side  view.


Immagine 068N8

N8 frontal view.

Immagine 069

N8 top drontal view.

Immagine 071

N8 top side view.

Immagine 072

N8 top side view.

Immagine 070

N8 frontal view.

Immagine 073

N9 frontal view.

Immagine 074

N9 top frontal view.

Immagine 075

N9 3/4 top side view.

Immagine 076

N10 back top side view.

Immagine 077

N11 back side view.

Immagine 078

N11 back top side view detail. 

Immagine 079

N11 back musical box view. 

Immagine 080

N11 Side A view .

Immagine 081

N11 Top side A view detail.

Immagine 082

N11 Side A detail view. 

Immagine 083

N11 Side A detail view. 

Immagine 084

N11 Top side A view detail.

Immagine 085

N11 Side B view. 

Immagine 086

N11 Side B view detail. Exceptional red patina of the wood.

Immagine 087

N11 Side B view . Original restauration detail. 

Immagine 089

N11 top frontal view detail. Exceptional state of usura and patina.

Immagine 090

N11 Top frontal view detail.



N11 bis top frontal  and side view. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.



N11 bis frontal,  side and back view.


N11 bis detail view.


Immagine 091

N12 Frontal view.

Immagine 092

N12 frontal view detail. 

Immagine 093

N12 Frontal view detail. 

Immagine 094

N12  3/4 Side view detail.

Immagine 095

N12  3/4 Top side view detail. 

Immagine 096

N13 Frontal view. 

Immagine 097

N13 Top frontal view.

Immagine 099

N13 3/4 Top side view. 

Immagine 100


Immagine 098

N13 Frontal view detail.



N13 bis fronta and top frontal view detail. Courtesy Arts Premiers Collection Bruxelles.

 Immagine 101

N14 Frontal view.

Immagine 102

N14 Top frontal view detail.

Immagine 103

N14 3/4 Top side view. 

Immagine 104

N14 Back top view detail. 

 Immagine 001


N15 frontal view. Carved in a primitive manner this lute has a face carved on the top.


Immagine 002


N15 Top face frontal view detail.


Immagine 003


N15 Top face side A view detail.


Immagine 004


N15 Top face side B view detail.


Immagine 018


N15 Another top frontal view detail.


Immagine 005

N15 Frontal view. Interesting the red/dark  patina of the liute, more clear in the follow photos.

Immagine 006


N15 Side A view.


Immagine 007


N15 Side B view.


Immagine 008


N15 Frontal view.


Immagine 009


N15 Side A view.


Immagine 010


N15 Side B view.


Immagine 011


N15 Frontal view of the musical box.


Immagine 012


N15 Side A view.


Immagine 013


N15 Side B view.



Immagine 015

N15 Detail.

Immagine 014

N15 Detail.

Immagine 017


N15 Detail.


Immagine 016


N15 Base of the liute view.


Short Bibliography:



Bor Joep. The Voice of the Sarangi. Delhi: National Centre for the Perfoming Arts, 1987.

Charulal Mukherjea, The Santals. Mukherjea and Co editions, Calcutta, 1962.

Chattopadhyaya,  Kamaladevi. Tribalism in India. New Delhi, 1978.

Culshaw, W. J. Tribal Heritage; a Study of the Santals. London: Lutterworth Press, 1949.

Danieloud,  Alain. "Sudasien". Musikgeshichte in Bildern 1,4 (1978) and La Musique de l'Inde du Nord. Buchet-Chastel editions.


Dietrich, Would and Bengt Fosshag. Aussereuropaische lauten, Werkzeug und Kunstwerk, Frankfurt 1992.

Leuzinger, Elsy. Propylaen Kunstgeschichte. Die Kunst der Naturvolken. Frankfurt, 1978.

Mode, Heinz and Subodh Chandra. Indische Volkskunsy. Leipzig, 1984. Indian Folk Art. Leipzig/New York 1985.

Prasad Onkar, Santal Music. New Delhi, 1985.



Sachs Curt. Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens. Berlin & Leipzig, 1923.

Shirali, Vishnudass Sargam. An Introduction to Indian Music. New Delhi, 1977.

Verrier Elwin. The Tribal Art of Middle India. London 1951.

Santal musical instruments:

 TIRIO: A bamboo flute with seven holes, symbol of love and seduction it's the most popular in the Santal culure.

DHRODO BANAM: Bowed lute carved out a single log of wood.

PHET BANAM: Lute with three or four strings, the waist part of the instrument is completely covered by animal skin.

TUMDAK: Knowed also as MADOL, is a double faces drum with a body brunt clay.

TAMAK: Bowl shaped kettle drum.

JUNKO: Onomatopeic description of the sound of the anckle bells, cast in metal in the shape of buds and tied to the feet of dancers from where produce a rythmical sounds.


INDIAN  Classical and Tribal Musical Instruments List:

Agappai Kinnari Galad Rabab
Algoza Ghana Vadyas Ravanastram
Ayarkuzhal Gna Rudra Veena
Baghra Gopichand Saaz
Bamboo Trumpet Hudka Santoor
Bans Imbingi Sarangi
Bansuri Jalatarang Saraswati Veena
Been Jamidika Sarattai Vadyam
Been Baja Jhil Sarinda
Bhajni Veena Jya Satara
Bhangra Dhol Kabbas Saxophone
Bheri Kadae Seni Rabab
Buang Kahala Shankh
Budbudke Kamaycha Singa
Bugdu Kanaka Tappattai Siranda
Bulbul Tarang Kanjari Sree Mandal
Burburi Kanjira Sruthi Box
Chajj-Sota Kartal Stir Drum
Chandra Pirai Kasht Tarang Sundri
Chaturangui Khang Ling Sur Singar
Chhika Sap Khatam Surpeti
Chimta Khung Swarabat
Chitraveena Kombu Swarmandal
Chutki Kram Swarsangam
Cymbal Kudukka Veena Tabla Tarang
Daf Magadi Veena Tammki
Damaram Manjira Tar Shehnai
Danda-Sota Mashak Tarpa
Dappu Mattiyaan Jodi Tasha
Dhad Mukhavina Taus
Dhodro Banam Naal Thali
Dholak Nal Thanthi Panai
Dhumsa Nanduni The Harmonium
Dotara Narh The Tambura
Douroo Narsing Tokka
Duff Nissan Tudi
Duff Noot Tumbaknari
Duggi Tarang Noubat Tuntune
Dumbak Panchamukha Vadya Udkka
Dundubhi Panchamukhavaadyam Udukku
Ekadani Veena Patti Tarang Urumi
Fifli Pena Urumu
Gadva Pepa Vichitra Veena
Gagana Pungi Yazh

Work in progress...















Collector I just wanted to thank you for sharing these images of the wonderful dhodro banam. I appreciate this site, these photos help me learn more about these rare instruments. Thank you very much, Alfred

Écrit par : Alfred Jaggi | 30/08/2008

Yemeni&Nepali lutes As I'm making a research on the ancient Yemeni lute qanbûs (or turbi),I strongly appreciated your e-exhibition of Nepalese lutes...splendid! By the way, I am convinced Yemeni and Nepali lutes (both kinds of tribal Santhal lutes as well as dranmyien)have a common origin. Please let me know if interested by Yemeni lutes pics and info...Thanks again

Samir Mokrani

Écrit par : Samir Mokrani | 15/11/2008

who are they? why they are always in two? May be for these people the number two is somehow sybolical? Indeed I suppose that in many cases they symbolise a man and a woman, a family so to say...

Écrit par : Ewan - Web Directory | 30/03/2009

Any idea where one could sell these? I'm working for a lovely lady who has four dhodro banams and is looking for suggestions on where and how to sell them. I was wondering if you'd be interested and/or could give us suggestions. We're out in Portland, Oregon but can ship anywhere. Check them out at:


Écrit par : petepo | 19/10/2009

j'ai acquis un sarangi ou est ce un luth népalais dont la tête est un perroquet perché et il est retourné. La patine est noire assez belle. Avez vous déjà vu de tels instruments?Il aune centaine d'années

Écrit par : sbarberi didier | 31/10/2010

On en veut plus avec autant d'humour. Continuez.

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