Quantcast

Kora

Mamadou Koyate (bridge by Djimo Koyate)

Date:
ca. 1960
Geography:
Senegal
Culture:
Mandinka people, Senegambia
Medium:
Gourd, goat skin, antelope-hide metal, wood
Dimensions:
L. 115.8 cm (45 9/16 in.); W. 52.5 cm (20 11/16 in.); Diam. 27.6 cm (10 7/8 in.)
Classification:
Chordophone-Harp
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.59
  • Description

    Plucked stringed instruments with vertically notched or pierced bridges are found only along the African coast from Senegal to Angola. The unique bridge seen here on the kora lifts the strings on a plane perpendicular to the body instead of parallel to it. Constructed of a calabash resonator, covered with sheep or goat hide and bearing nylon strings secured around a wooden neck, the West African kora combines features of the harp and the lute. It is played either standing or sitting by professional musicians traditionally associated with the nobility. The jali (performer) holds the kora upright and plucks the twenty-one strings with thumb and forefingers to accompany spoken narratives, genealogical recitations, and praise songs. The kora also provides solo interludes. Tuning is achieved by turning the antelope-hide rings to which the strings are tied. This kora was made by Mamadou Kouyaté, the chief musician of Senegal's president Leopold Sengor. The bridge was made by Djimo Kouyaté.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
503060

Close