Art/ Collection/ Art Object


late 19th century
Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma)
Thai or Burmese
Wood, skin, iron
Height (Of longest pipe): 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm) Height (Of shortest pipe): 29 in. (73.7 cm)
Aerophone-Free Reed-mouth organ
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
Not on view
Legend holds that this free-reed instrument, played in the tribal music of Thailand and Laos, was invented to imitate the voice of the karaweik bird. To sound the Khāēn one exhales or inhales into a wind chamber to activate metal reeds which are attached to each bamboo pipe and concealed by the wooden chamber. Opening a finger hole above the chamber allows air to vibrate the reed and sound. Also found in Laos, this mouthorgan is related to others throughout Asia.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Historical Groups, Gallery 39. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1905, pg. 62.

Related Objects


Date: 19th century Medium: Bamboo wood, metal Accession: 89.4.2957 On view in:Not on view


Date: 19th century Medium: Bamboo, wood, metal Accession: 68.62.2 On view in:Not on view


Date: ca. 1900 Medium: Bamboo Accession: 46.34.34 On view in:Not on view

Sō Sām Sāi

Date: 19th century Medium: Coconut, skin, ivory, mother-of-pearl Accession: 89.4.300 On view in:Not on view


Date: late 19th century Medium: Horn Accession: 89.4.285 On view in:Not on view