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Images from The Beede Gallery

Plucked Lamellaphone (Sansa), Probably East Africa, Early 20th Century

NMM 1241.  Plucked lamellaphone (sansa), probably East Africa, early 20th century. Metal lamellae forged from umbrella ribs or bicycle-wheel spokes. Six wood panels nailed together to form trapezoidal resonator. The numbers, 8 and 5, are carved into the top of the sansa. Overall length: 194 mm; width: 102 mm; depth: 52 mm. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.


Click on any image to see a larger view.


Sansa, probably East Africa, early 20th century


Back view of sansa
Side view of sansa

Another side view of sansa

The lamellae are wedged by an iron straining bar against two bridges, consisting of two iron bars glued to the soundtable.


Two round soundholes, one in the centre of the lower end, one in the back, are burned and carved out of the body.

Opening at lower end


Lamellae (tongues)

The top end of the soundtable overhangs the edge and is carved with a hole from which a small iron crotal is suspended. The surfaces of underside of this panel, and the top short side are covered with silver paper.

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