Lamellaphone (mbira)

Probably Shona people
mid-20th century

Object Place: Zimbabwe


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


Medium or Technique

Wood, iron, bottle caps

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Contemporary Art, Musical Instruments



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.


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

Credit Line

Mary L. Smith Fund