H. 50.2 cm (19-3/4 in.); W. including mouthpiece: 11.4 cm (4-1/2 in.)
Aerophone-Free Reed-mouth organ
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Not on view
Southeast Asian in origin and used before the twelfth century B.C., the sheng also played an important role in Confucian music. Now, it accompanies folk songs and is occasionally used in the Beijing opera to add harmony. Similar to the Western harmonica, which it inspired, the sheng is the only Chinese wind instrument capable of sounding many notes at the same time. It is played by blowing and sucking. The bamboo pipes, symbolizing the folded wings of the phoenix, are fitted with free reeds made of metal, concealed by the bowl-shaped wind chamber.
Alexander S. van Dyck ; Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Asia, Gallery 27. 2. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, vol. II.
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Gallery 27. 1. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1901, vol. I.
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. 113.