Type: Membranophones > Cylindrical > Drums.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.22
Region: South Asia.
Description: The Dhimay, Dhimaya or [in Nepal Bhasa: धिमय्] or Dhime [धिमे] is a large sized double-sided, cylindrical drum. There is a smaller version of this drum sharing the same name in Nepal. During performance this drum is generally accompanied by other idiophones, mostly other percussion instruments depending on local tradition. There are two kinds of dhimay. The smaller ones are called “Dhaacha Dhimay” and bigger dhimay are called “Ma Dhimay”
History: According to local legends, the instrument is believed to be invented by Mahadev. The drum has been played since the Kirat era. The drum is played mostly by Jyapu community. However, Shresthas, Ranjitkars and other castes also play it.
Performance: In Dhimay-ensembles, called Dhimaybaja, the drum is accompanied by cymbals like Bhushyah, Chushyah and sometimes by Tai-nai, a gong-like instrument. At special occasions even the shawm musicians of the Kapali [hon.] or Jugi [coll.] a caste of tailors and professional musicians, may be called.
The Dhimay is also played in the Buddhist Navabaja or Naubaja -Ensembles. Recently, with musicians looking for new ways to develop popular music with its roots in traditional music, the Dhimay is played as a sort of bass drum, accompanying western instruments like guitar.
Construction: The drum is rather large compared to other drums played by the Newars in Nepal. The size of this instrument varies from diameter of 101.6 cm or 40 inches to 129.5 cm or 51 inches, length of 43.1 cm 17 inches to 53.34 cm to 21 inches. The shell of the drum is made of wood or metal.
Sometimes wooden drums are partly covered with metal foil. The shape of old Dhimay drums is mostly irregular, formed by the natural shape of the piece of wood being used to make the drum body. Modern drums are either cylindrical or slightly barrel-shaped. Both heads are made of goat skin. On the inside of the left membrane, called Mankhah [Haima in Bhaktapur] a red tuning paste similar in function to the Syahi is applied for providing a deep sound.
Citations: Bibliography: Wegner, Gert-Matthias 1986: “The Dhimaybaja of Bhaktapur. Studies in Newar Drumming I”. Franz Steiner: Wiesbaden. Prajapati, Subhash Ram 2006 Sanskriti Bhitra. newatech ISBN 979-9994699949 ;