Bowl lyre (ndongo)

Ganda people
19th century

Object Place: Uganda


Length 66 cm, width 53.5 cm (Length 26 in., width 21 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, monitor lizard skin, goat hair, cowrie shells

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments



Shallow hemispherical body of wood with sound table of snakeskin with one small circular soundhole at proper right side. Center of back covered by small square (130 x 130 mm) of animal skin, pierced around perimeter by strands of twisted plant fiber radiating to edge of body in alternating bands of black and red. Two wood arms pierce sound table and support wood yoke at upper end. Attached to ends of yoke are strands of cowrie shells and large tufts of black and gray monkey hair. Eight strings of twisted plant fiber pierce sound table and body and are tied to wood peg at lower end, and are tied to cloth tuning rings at yoke.


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection