Evenk shamaness heating her drum over fire. Photo by A. Slapins, 1975
Heating the drum before use was necessary because the heat tightened the drum skin and changed its pitch. Basically, the shaman used the fire for tuning his/her drum.
The Evenks are native to Asia, particularly southern Siberia, and their culture predates Russia – it’s been traced to neolithic times.
[Image & description found here.]