Xylophone (mbila) and one mallet

Chopi people
19th century

Object Place: Mozambique


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

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, gourds

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Africa and Oceania, Musical Instruments



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.


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