The eight sides of the octagonal drum represent the eight flags used by the ruling Manchu ethnicity during the Qing Dynasty. These Chinese drums became especially popular in northern China’s Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, and the northeast. The tradition is to dance and play the drums at the same time, holding it upright with the left hand, striking it with the right. Left hand fingers can also tap out rhythms. Flicking, muting, and rolling are just a few of the popular octagonal drum playing techniques.