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Collection Tour

African Musical Instruments

  • The MFA’s Musical Instruments Collection contains over 1,100 examples from around the world, ranging from ancient times to the twenty-first century. Explore a selection of African instruments from the Museum’s holdings.

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  • Slit drum

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Possibly Central African Republic

    Description

    Loaf-shaped, hollowed-out body of mahogany (?) with flat ends. Top surface flattened off with two large rectangular slits connected through septum at center by narrow slit. Small iron nails driven into top surface near ends. Surface shows rough tool marks.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 59.7 cm, width 22 cm, depth 22.9 cm (Length 23 1/2 in., width 8 11/16 in., depth 9 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2013

    Medium or Technique

    Mahogany?

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Vessel rattle

    Kongo people
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Osman Beretta; 2002, sold by Beretta to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 23 x 7.5 cm (9 1/16 x 2 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.902

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Vessel rattle

    Luba or Hemba people
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Sidiqui Kaba; 2002, sold by Sidiqui Kaba to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.2 x 4.8 cm (9 15/16 x 1 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.1007

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, vegetable husks

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Basket rattle

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Probably Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Hourglass-shaped body of woven cane with tuft of animal hair tied around waist with strips of cane and cloth. Nutshells inside.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 42 cm, width 15 cm (Length 16 9/16 in., width 5 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2189

    Medium or Technique

    Cane, nutshells

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Bell rattle

    Unknown people
    mid-20th century

    Object Place: Possibly Senegal or Cameroon

    Description

    Body comprised of bundle of strips of animal skin, one half wrapped with twined plant fiber and burlap to form cigar-shaped handle. Seven longitudinal rows of cowrie shells tied along handle. Tied near lower end of handle are four small bronze bells, two loops of white seed beads, two loops of larger white beads, and piece of red yarn. Loop of twine at upper end of handle for carrying.

    Provenance

    Peggy Stuart Coolidge (1913-1981), New York; 1981, by inheritance to her husband, Joseph R. Coolidge (1916-1999), New York; 1985, gift of Coolidge, Cushing, Maine, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 27, 1985)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Joseph R. Coolidge in memory of his wife, Peggy Stuart Coolidge

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 38 cm, width 5.5 cm (Length 14 15/16 in., width 2 3/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1985.833

    Medium or Technique

    Leather, vegetable fiber, seashells, seed beads, bronze

    Not On View

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Clapperless bell

    Bamileke people
    20th century

    Object Place: Cameroon

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2008, Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2008, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 53 x 21 x 11 cm (20 7/8 x 8 1/4 x 4 5/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2008.20

    Medium or Technique

    Iron

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Scraper

    Senufo people
    20th century

    Object Place: Côte d'Ivoire or Burkina Faso

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2001, Osman Beretta; 2001, sold by Beretta to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2008, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 27.5 x 3 cm (10 13/16 x 1 3/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2008.24

    Medium or Technique

    Iron

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Lamellaphone (mbira)

    Probably Shona people
    mid-20th century

    Object Place: Zimbabwe

    Description

    One-piece box-shaped body of fig tree wood (?), hollowed-out from one end about half way in. Twenty-four lamellae of iron held in place by straining bar of iron and iron wire. Wood backrest and iron bridge. Lower portion of soundtable surface covered by sheet of metal attached with iron wire, on top of which are nine bottle caps (some marked “Lion Lager”), each attached by iron wire.

    Provenance

    1986, sold by Douglas Deihl, Florence, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 26, 1986)

    Credit Line

    Mary L. Smith Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 23.7 cm, width 21 cm, depth 5 cm (Length 9 5/16 in., width 8 1/4 in., depth 1 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1986.604

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, iron, bottle caps

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Lamellaphone (likembe)

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    One-piece box-shaped body of hollowed-out wood with cut-out section on back of top end and separate strip of wood on left side closing resonating chamber. Four randomly placed domed brass tacks on soundtable. Squarish soundhole (10 x 10 mm) at center of back and semicircular soundhole (15 x 8 mm) at center of bottom end. Ten lamellae of iron held in place by iron straining bar tied down with strips of cane. Backrest of wood capped by strip of cane. U-shaped bridge of iron, the ends tied with braided cloth cord strung alternately with cowrie shells and glass beads (blue, green, and black).

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 16.1 cm, width 8.6 cm, depth 3.2 cm (Length 6 5/16 in., width 3 3/8 in., depth 1 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2187

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, iron

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Lamellaphone (malimba)

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    Composite box-shaped body of wood with incised designs on all surfaces. Small triangular soundhole just below bridge and small circular soundhole (?) on back near upper end. Eight lamellae of cane tied in place between wood backrest and bridge with twined plant fiber. Printed paper label glued to back: (West Coast of Africa)

    Inscription

    Printed paper label glued to back: (West Coast of Africa)

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 31.6 cm, width 10.5 cm, depth 4 cm (Length 12 7/16 in., width 4 1/8 in., depth 1 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2188

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, cane

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Lamellaphone

    Probably Kongo people
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Sidiqui Kaba; 2002, sold by Sidiqui Kaba to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.5 x 22 x 5 cm (10 1/16 x 8 11/16 x 1 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.900

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, iron

    Not On View

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Lamellaphone

    Holo people
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Baba Raymond Sylla, New York; 2002, sold by Sylla to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 12, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 31 x 12 x 13 cm (12 3/16 x 4 3/4 x 5 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.901

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, iron, gourd

    Not On View

    Collections

    Asia, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Xylophone (mbila) and one mallet

    Chopi people
    19th century

    Object Place: Mozambique

    Description

    U-shaped frame of wood with shallow notches along upper edges of sides. Centrally-placed longitudinal strut joined to frame at each end with two round tenons. Ten keys of wood, each pair divided by additional strips of wood set on edge, all tied together and to frame with leather strips. Attached to holes in strut under each key are gourd resonators of graded size, each with small nipple with circular opening to receive mirilton (nearly all missing). Single extant mallet of wood with head formed from natural latex rubber.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 55.5 cm, width 36.5 cm (Length 21 7/8 in., width 14 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2182a-b

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, gourds

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Idiophones

    More Info
  • Hourglass drum

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Niger

    Description

    Hourglass-shaped body of dark wood. Animal skin heads at each end, held in place by laces of thin twined plant fiber, with six additional loops of twine around laces at waist. Roll of red cloth encircling each head and separate strip serving as carrying strap.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height 47.5 cm, diameter 23 cm (Height 18 11/16 in., diameter 9 1/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2185

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, animal skin, plant fiber, cloth

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    More Info
  • Hourglass drum

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place

    Description

    Hourglass-shaped body of very thin wood, the waist section colored pale salmon. Heads of animal skin at each end, held in place by laces of thin twined plant fiber. Several later laces of thin cotton (?) cord.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height 28.7 cm, diameter 19.8 cm (Height 11 5/16 in., diameter 7 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2016

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, animal skin, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    More Info
  • Goblet drum

    Kuba, Lele, or Kete people
    20th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Osman Beretta; sold by Beretta to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 71 x 28 cm (27 15/16 x 11 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.1008

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, calfskin, iron, vegetable fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    More Info
  • Kettle drum

    Amhara people
    20th century

    Object Place: Ethiopia

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2002, Baba Raymond Sylla, New York; 2002, sold by Sylla to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2007, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 31, 2007)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 44 (incl. handle) x 34 x 22 cm (17 5/16 x 13 3/8 x 8 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2007.1009

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, calfskin

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    More Info
  • Goblet drum

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Possibly Sierra Leone

    Description

    Conical wood body terminating in cylindrical section with three small feet. Head end is ovoid. Single head of animal skin, held in place by web of thick twined plant fiber laced around two separate rings of braided palm (?) fiber. Small carrying loop of leather at one edge of head.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height 43.5 cm, diameter 25.5 cm (Height 17 1/8 in., diameter 10 1/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2186

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, animal skin, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Membranophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    Unknown people
    about 1925

    Object Place: Possibly Chad

    Description

    Slender conical body of wood stained/painted black with beveled embouchure end. Narrow end pierced longitudinally by small hole into bore and tip steeply cut away along one side. Integral eyelet near embouchure end with long carrying cord of twined plant fiber.

    Provenance

    About 1925, collected in Chad by a missionary; before 1984, sold by a pawn broker as part of a collection, Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Douglas Deihl, Northampton; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 31.2 cm, width 3.4 cm (Length 12 5/16 in., width 1 5/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.297

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown whistle

    Possibly Western Voltaic group
    about 1920

    Object Place: Possibly Western Burkina Faso

    Description

    Slender conical body of dark wood terminating in bulbous head. Base of head has two carved rings, sides have two small holes opposite each other, and top has circular embouchure hole surrounded by carved lips in shape of fish mouth. Lozenge-shaped fingerhole (?) near distal end, and hole with short loop of twined plant fiber. Remnants of bug (?) inside.

    Provenance

    Before 1984, Tony Vacca, Whately, Massachusetts; by 1984, sold by Vacca to Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 29.8 cm, width 4.6 cm (Length 11 3/4 in., width 1 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.298

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Double duct whistle (uveve?)

    Possibly Zulu people
    about 1950

    Object Place: Southeastern Africa

    Description

    Two tubes of cane bound together with twined plant fiber and wrapped with several strands of red and white seed beads. Duct in upper ends formed by plugs of black mastic. Single strand of white seed beads serves as carrying strap.

    Provenance

    1984, sold by Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 12.2 cm, width 2.9 cm (Length 4 13/16 in., width 1 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.299

    Medium or Technique

    Cane, seed beads

    Not On View

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute (wua)

    Probably Bwa people
    probably late 19th century

    Object Place: Burkina Faso

    Description

    Conical body of dark wood terminating in flattened Y-shape at top with beveled surface for circular embouchure hole. Upper half of body has three raised fingerholes and is wrapped with strips of snakeskin. Lower half of body wrapped with animal skin, and end pierced by hole for carrying cord.

    Provenance

    1984, sold by Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 17.9 cm, width 4.2 cm (Length 7 1/16 in., width 1 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.294

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, snakeskin, animal skin

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute (wua)

    Probably Bwa people
    early 20th century

    Object Place: Burkina Faso

    Description

    Small abtract phallus-shaped body of dark wood with flattened Y-shape at top with circular embouchure hole. Bent “arms” project from each side with small fingerhole at “elbows.”

    Provenance

    1984, sold by Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 6.6 cm, width 3.9 cm (Length 2 5/8 in., width 1 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.295

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute (wua)

    Probably Bwa people
    mid-20th century

    Object Place: Burkina Faso

    Description

    Conical body of dark wood terminating in flattened Y-shape at top with beveled surface for circular embouchure hole. Bent “arms” project from each side, one containing fingerhole. Wrapped with strips of snakeskin except near lower end. Lower end pierced by hole for carrying cord.

    Provenance

    Before 1984, Tony Vacca, Whately, Massachusetts; by 1984, sold by Vacca to Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 40.9 cm, width 8.5 cm (Length 16 1/8 in., width 3 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.296

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, snakeskin

    Not On View

    Collections

    Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    Gurunsi people
    20th century

    Object Place: Burkina Faso

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2001, Mohamed Kaba, Bronx, New York; 2001, sold by Kaba to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2008, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 43 x 11 x 4 cm (16 15/16 x 4 5/16 x 1 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2008.23

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, leather

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Conical body of ivory (elephant tusk) with slightly concave embouchure end. Two small circular fingerholes near narrow end. Integral eyelet near center of body with leather carrying strap.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 31 cm, width 5 cm (Length 12 3/16 in., width 1 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2183

    Medium or Technique

    Ivory, leather

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute (ndere)

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Probably Uganda

    Description

    Cylindrical body of cane, decorated with irregularly-spaced stripes of brown edged by black. Wrapped in five places with black cord (possibly later addition to stabilize cracks). Embouchure hole slightly beveled on outside. Three large widely-spaced fingerholes on flattened surface near distal end. In white paint: 8022. In ink near both ends: a / c.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 67.3 cm, width 2 cm (Length 26 1/2 in., width 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2184

    Medium or Technique

    Cane

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • End-blown flute

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Probably Sudan

    Description

    Cylindrical body of cane wrapped with alternate bands of animal skin and tin. Ends wrapped with snakeskin. Wrapped in two spots with large seed beads (black, white, green, red) and small seashells, and tied with braided black cotton (?) carrying cord with two tassels at each end. U-shaped notched embouchure. Four fingerholes in lower half.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 61.3 cm, width 3.5 cm (Length 24 1/8 in., width 1 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2191

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, tin, animal skin, seed beads

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet

    Zande or Mangbetu people
    19th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Conical body of ivory (elephant tusk) decorated near center with geometric patterns comprised of small black incised circles with central dot. Lozenge-shaped embouchure hole surrounded by raised diamond-shape.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 50 cm, width 8.5 cm (Length 19 11/16 in., width 3 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1960

    Medium or Technique

    Ivory

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet (kondo)

    Pokot people
    about 1970

    Object Place: Kenya

    Description

    Conical body of light wood stained black, carved with several stepped sections and hollowed out through entire length. Oval embouchure hole. End of bell wrapped with animal skin, laced with leather. Strip of leather for carrying strap.

    Provenance

    1977, sold by the estate of Edwin M. Ripin (1930-1975), Forest Hills, New York, to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 9, 1977)

    Credit Line

    Edwin M. Ripin Collection, Friends of the Collection Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 78.3 cm, width 6.6 cm (Length 30 13/16 in., width 2 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1977.77

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Nigeria

    Description

    Conical body of ivory (elephant tusk), carved with head and torso of man with folded arms, wearing turban and necklaces. Further carved with patterns of rings, diagonals, and crisscrosses. Lozenge-shaped embouchure hole. Small hole near edge of bell.

    Provenance

    About 1980, sold by Lillian Caplin, Center for Musical Antiquities, New York, to Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 24.3 cm, width 4.4 cm (Length 9 9/16 in., width 1 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.300

    Medium or Technique

    Ivory

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet

    Possibly Endo people
    19th century

    Object Place: Great Rift Valley region, Kenya

    Description

    Conical body of wood wrapped with animal skin with fur, held in place by single line of leather stitching. Lozenge-shaped embouchure hole with leather strips wrapped around body just above and below. Loop of leather for hanging tied at embouchure end.

    Provenance

    About 1982, sold by Tony Vacca, Whately, Massachusetts, to Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 63.8 cm, width 7.6 cm (Length 25 1/8 in., width 3 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.301

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, animal skin

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet

    Unknown people
    1925–50

    Object Place: Possibly Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Conical body of two pieces of hollowed-out dark wood with cylindrical section at embouchure end. Rectangular-shaped embouchure hole. Bell wrapped with several strands of thin twined plant fiber and fewer larger braided strands. Two large braided strands tied longitudinally along each side of embouchure hole, with fragments of feathers at upper ends. Wrappings of black plant fiber (?) in zigzag pattern just above and below embouchure hole. Projecting from twined wrapping at embouchure end are tufts of black animal hair. Short carrying loop of braided twine tied at embouchure end.

    Provenance

    About 1979, sold by Skinner Auction House, Bolton, Massachusetts to Douglas Deihl, Northampton, Massachusetts; 1984, sold by Deihl to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1984)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 42.7 cm, width 4.3 cm (Length 16 13/16 in., width 1 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.302

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Side-blown trumpet

    Dan people
    20th century

    Object Place: Côte d'Ivoire

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2000, Al-Shariff African Art, Mohamed K. Shariff, Santa Fe, New Mexico; 2000, sold by Al-Shariff African Art to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2008, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 84 x 15 cm (33 1/16 x 5 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    2008.21

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Aerophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow

    Possibly Mandigo people
    19th century

    Object Place

    Description

    Thick re-curved stave of wood, wrapped in several places with thin strips of sinew (?) and notched at one end. Originally strung with strip of leather (now missing). Short stick (or arrow?) of reed formerly associated with it.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 155.9 cm (61 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1698

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow (ugubhu?)

    Possibly Zulu people
    19th century

    Object Place: Transvaal region

    Description

    Arched branch of wood strung with brass wire (diameter 0.76 mm), secured at one end (presumably upper) in a V notch, and at the other (presumably lower) in a circular groove. Double-chambered gourd resonator tied to stave with thick twine, the twine attached to the gourd by a loop around a short wooden stick. Small curved friction bow (length 112 mm) with cow tail-hair (?) previously tied to stave with cotton cord, and previously associated with this instrument, has been removed. In ink on bow stave: Gubo / Transvaal.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Height 18.3 cm, diameter 12.3 cm (Height 7 3/16 in., diameter 4 13/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1699

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, gourd

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place

    Description

    Irregularly arched branch of wood strung with twined plant fiber, but also having wrappings of strips of cane (?) at the ends. Two small areas near center of wood blackened from fire (?). Spherical gourd resonator tied around stave and string with twined plant fiber. Beater stick (of tentative association) marked in ink: BEIRA.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 106.2 cm, width 13.4 cm, depth 9.8 cm (Length 41 13/16 in., width 5 1/4 in., depth 3 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1702

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, gourd

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow (lesiba)

    Probably Sotho people
    19th century

    Object Place: Lesotho

    Description

    Irregularly arched branch of wood, formerly strung with “twisted gut” (now missing), tied to notch at one end and to lateral tuning peg (also now missing) at opposite end. Bound with two wraps of iron wire at tuning peg end. In ink on bow stave: Lesiba / Basutoland

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 95.7 cm, width 1.8 cm (Length 37 11/16 in., width 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2180

    Medium or Technique

    Wood

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Scraped mouth bow (xizambi)

    Possibly Tsonga people
    19th century

    Object Place: Mozambique

    Description

    Thin, slightly arched stave of wood with shallow notches along center section for 285 mm. Formerly strung with strip of leaf (now missing). Two small spherical fruit shells (gourds), each incised with four crosses and containing small rocks, are pierced by cylindrical stick of wood pointed at both ends and having short loop of string through hole near center. In ink on bow: BEIRA Portugese E. Africa.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 57.8 cm, width 4 cm (Length 22 3/4 in., width 1 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1701a-b

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, gourd

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow (tshidzholo?)

    Possibly Venda people
    19th century

    Object Place: Transvaal region

    Description

    Body of bamboo with four nodes, shaped to point at distal end and open along one side except for 95 mm at proximal end. Strung with brass wire (diameter 0.48 mm), tied to notch at distal end and wrapped around lateral tuning peg of wood at proximal end. Remnants of older (?) brass wire (of two diameters, 0.38 mm & 0.78 mm) on tuning peg. In ink on body: Transvaal.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 67.5 cm (26 9/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1703

    Medium or Technique

    Bamboo

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Musical bow (setolotolo)

    Probably Sotho people
    19th century

    Object Place: Lesotho

    Description

    Three-piece construction comprised of cylindrical center section of wood (length 520 mm) with hole in each end for insertion of smaller, slightly arched pieces of wood (lengths 200 and 228 mm). Strung with copper wire, bound to middle of center section and tied to end sections with gut (?). One end of center section bound with several wrappings of twined plant fiber with loop for hanging. In ink on main section: Tolo tolo / Basutoland

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 86 cm (33 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.2181

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Stick zither (zeze?)

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Possibly Zanzibar, Tanzania

    Description

    Bar-shaped body of dark wood covered with incised geometric designs. Three cylindrical-shaped “frets” protrude on each side. Calabash resonator and collar tied to body with cotton (?) cord. Four strings of twisted plant fiber tied to small knob at distal end of body and to one of two knobs of fork at proximal end. Piece of broken quill (?) tied under strings near forked end of body.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 64 cm, width 21 cm, depth 19.5 cm (Length 25 3/16 in., width 8 1/4 in., depth 7 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1700

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, gourd, plant fiber

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Trough zither (inanga)

    Hutu people
    20th century

    Object Place: Burundi or Rwanda

    Description

    Provenance

    By 2001, Osman Beretta; 2001, sold by Beretta to Dwight B. Heath (b. 1930), Providence, Rhode Island; 2008, gift of Heath to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Dwight B. and Anna Cooper Heath in honor of Nova Heath Parsons

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 76 x 24 x 7 cm (29 15/16 x 9 7/16 x 2 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    2008.22

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, nylon

    Not On View

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Bowl lyre (ndongo)

    Ganda people
    19th century

    Object Place: Uganda

    Description

    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.

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Accession Number

    17.2179

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, monitor lizard skin, goat hair, cowrie shells

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Arched harp (kundi?)

    Unknown people
    19th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Boat-shaped body of wood wrapped with animal skin, held in place by stitching of sinew (?) along back. Two circular soundholes at opposite corners of sound table. Arched neck of wood. Five strings of gut (later addition) attached to lateral tuning pegs of wood and tied to strip of wood running beneath sound table. Paper label glued to bottom of body: No. 28 / 15

    Provenance

    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

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 65 cm, width 9.5 cm (Length 25 9/16 in., width 3 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    17.1783

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, animal skin

    Not On View

    Collections

    Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info
  • Arched harp (kundi)

    Mangbetu people
    late 19th century

    Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Description

    Waisted boat-shaped body of wood wrapped with animal skin, held in place by single line of leather stitching along back. Two circular soundholes at opposite corners of sound table. Arched neck of wood terminating in carved elongated head of man with eyes made from white seed beads. Five strings of gut attached to lateral tuning pegs of wood (one later addition) and tied to strip of wood running beneath sound table. Painted in white at base of neck: FX93365

    Provenance

    Before 1994, part of "an old colonial collection." By 1994, Marc Leo Felix, Brussels; 1994, sold by Felix to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 22, 1994)

    Credit Line

    Helen and Alice Colburn Fund and William E. Nickerson Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Length 57 cm, width 14.5 cm (Length 22 7/16 in., 5 11/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    1994.194

    Medium or Technique

    Wood, cowhide

    On View

    Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)

    Collections

    Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments

    Classifications

    Musical instruments, Chordophones

    More Info

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