five-stringed harp, strings missing, with a skin-covered sounding box and a curved grooved neck, topped by a carved head with turban headgear

Harp, late 19th century

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It may resemble a guitar and sound like a lute. But with five strings running perpendicular to its sound box, rather than strung across it, this is a harp—a bow harp, in fact, owing to its shape. A century ago, among the Nzakara people in Central Africa, court poets praised—and sometimes critiqued—the deeds of past and present kings to the accompaniment of a bow harp.

Details
Title
Harp
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2014.46.3
Curator Approved

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five-stringed harp, strings missing, with a skin-covered sounding box and a curved grooved neck, topped by a carved head with turban headgear