Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Simbingo

Maker:
Senegambia - Mandinka (Africa)
Date:
19th century
Geography:
Senegal or Gambia
Culture:
Madinka people
Medium:
Gourd, skin, wood, leather
Dimensions:
33 7/8 × 11 × 5 1/2 in. (86 × 28 × 14 cm)
Classification:
Chordophone-Harp
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.493
Not on view
Formerly played to accompany narrative song and dance associated with the hunt, the simbingo is related to the larger, more elaborate kora. In both instruments, the method of attaching the skin to the calabash resonator offers decorative opportunities: wood pegs radiate from the simbingo's body, while the kora employs patterns of brass tacks. Here, six twisted skin strings pass through certain bridge holes selected for symbolic reasons. The strings form their own tuning rings around the wood neck.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
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