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Plucked Lamellaphone (Sansa), Gbaya tribe, Cameroon, ca. 1950

Sansa, Gbaya tribe, Cameroon, ca. 1950
Side view of sansa
Back of sansa

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NMM 4173.  Plucked lamellaphone (sansa), Gbaya tribe, western grasslands region of Cameroon, ca. 1950. Anthropomorphic shape. The black, sooty exterior and smokey smell of this sansa indicate that it was once used and kept in a hut where it was exposed to in-house cooking fires. Hair is carved to look like it is pulled back, almost to a point, typical of the Gbaya people. The nine wood tongues (lamellae) are depressed and released to make music. Overall length: ca. 19"; width: ca. 5.5"; depth: ca. 3.25".  Gift of Verna Syverson, Cameroon, 1987.


Front of head
Side of head

Verna Syverson acquired this instrument while she was a missionary in Meiganga, Cameroon. She subsequently donated it to the NMM in 1987, noting that this sansa was a type "regularly used in the area where I am working."

Lamellae (tongues)
Lower half of body

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