Do you hear the thunder of Chinese Drums?

The earliest evidence of the use of drums in China was found in Oracle inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty (1783-1123 BC).

Drums were used to motivate troops, set a marching pace and for sending orders or announcements.

The drum had a purpose in almost all elements of Chinese life. Copper drums come from southern China and date to almost a thousand years before Christ.  The copper drum was also called the war drum.

The Han Dynasty used copper drums for war too.

The Fengyang Drum Dance originated in Anhui Province and was used by traveling musicians and dancers in the streets of villages and towns. In time, it would represent poverty.

Tibetan drums are part of the Sholdon (Yogurt) Festival, which occurs in late August.

Drums are also used for the traditional Chinese New Year’s Lion Dance.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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4 Responses to Do you hear the thunder of Chinese Drums?

  1. Tami says:

    Drums – punctuating drama for thousands of years.

    • Drums. I watched “The Last Legion” Wednesday evening and near the end of the film when all seemed lost, there is the thunder of drums and then the 9th Roman Legion marches over the nearest hill in time to save the day.

  2. I love drums. That first video was fantastic.
    Your title made me think of that saying, “…beating war drums from sidelines.”

    • When I see drums, I think of Ringo sitting behind the other Beatles up on that pedestal with his hair flopping around as he beats them. In fact, when the two living Beatles got together recently for a special, I stayed up just to see him perform and they left him to last … last. It was a long wait. Ringo did have a lot of energy for his age but his hair was cut short.

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