L. 55.2 cm (22 in.); Diam(s). Top 3.9 cm (1½ in); Bell 5 cm (2 in.)
Aerophone-Blow Hole-end-blown flute (vertical)
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Not on view
The shakuhachi descends from the smaller hitoyogiri. Both instruments have four finger holes and a thumb hole, are held vertically, and have a blowing edge formed by an outward cut at the rim. The hitoyogiri ceased to be used by the 19th century, but the shakuhachi survives today. The shakuhachi took shape during the Momayama period (1534-1615), but developed its final form during the Edo period (1615-1868), when it was adopted by the komuso, wandering monks. These monks, many of whom were masterless samurai and stripped of their swords, kept the favor of the shogun by acting as his spies. The monks altered the hitoyogiri, by making it thicker, longer, and slightly curved at the bell. This new design allowed the shakuhachi to serve as a club. The shakuhachi now accompanies poetry, plays in ensemble with the koto and shamisen, and is heard in virtuosic solos.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown ; James L. Amerman
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Asia, Gallery 27. 2. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, vol. II, pg. 43, ill.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Gallery 27. 1. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1901, vol. I, pg. 43, ill.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. Catalogue., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, vol. 13, pg. 111.