Bamboo flute

Papua New Guinea, Sepik area
20th century
Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander

Object Place: Papua New Guinea


Overall: 49 x 6 cm (19 5/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments


Musical instruments

Nose flutes are commonly used throughout Oceania. To play the instrument, performers hold the flute up to one nostril with one hand, and hold shut the other with a free finger. To produce a sound, players would blow through a small hole near the top of the flute. Flutes were typically used in casual settings and were not associated with ceremonial music-making. The design pattern on this flute, created by pyroengraving, is reminiscent of Sepik shield motifs.


Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart