Bomba Drum

This wooden-cask drum was used to play bomba, one of the oldest forms of music in Puerto Rico. One end of the drum is covered in animal skin with a fur fringe. This is held in place by a wooden band that is tensioned with fiber ropes hooked on four wooden pegs driven into the sides. Bomba was created on the plantations of Puerto Rico by enslaved Africans and their descendants in the 1680s. Like the Cuban rumba, bomba must include dance in its performance, reflecting its west African musical origins. Bomba ensembles usually feature three differently pitched drums and a single maraca.
Currently not on view
Object Name
drum, Bomba
Physical Description
goatskin (hide material)
iron (overall material)
paint (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 26 cm x 26 cm x 6.5 cm; 10 1/4 in x 10 1/4 in x 2 9/16 in
Place Made
Puerto Rico: San Juan, San Juan
location where used
Puerto Rico
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Cultures & Communities
Music & Musical Instruments
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Don Rafael Cepeda Atiles

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Approved comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about your own artifacts or comment on their value, rarity, or collectibility.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.