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Images from The Beede Gallery

Sheng (Mouth Organ), China, late 19th century

Click on images below to see larger images

NMM 2566. Sheng, China, late 19th century. Sheng front view Sheng side view Sheng back view

NMM 2566. Sheng, China, late 19th century. Mouth organ with bronze wind chest, seventeen bamboo pipes and metal reeds. Pipes carved to fit in a tight cluster, traditionally associated with the wings of the mythical phoenix. Only fourteen of the pipes are playable; the others are present merely to complete the symmetry of the birdís wings. Metal reeds are attached to the lower ends of the pipes, visible only when removed from wind chest. Small drops of wax are used to tune each reed. Chinese characters, identifying each pitch, are inscribed on interior walls of speaking pipes. Historically, gourds were used for the wind chest. Like its Western counterpart, the harmonica, the sheng plays both blow and draw notes. Board of Trustees, 1979.


Views of the Pipes and Wind Chest

Base of wind chest

Bottom of wind chest

Top of wind chest

Top of wind chest

Pipes in wind chest

View from above of
pipes in wind chest

   
Base of wind chest

Lower end of pipes

Pipes in wind chest, view 2

Interior of pipe cluster

Pipes in wind chest, view 2

Chinese numbers on pipes

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Most recent update:   September 21, 2010

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