Augusto Merciano da Costa Portuguese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

This folk instrument from the Portuguese island of Madeira typically had five strings, but this example has only four. Da Costa’s unusual rajão is built in the shape of a fish. The instrument was popular with Portuguese sailors, who took it around the world. They introduced the rajão to native Hawaiians, and it inspired the creation of the ukulele.

Rajão, Augusto Merciano da Costa, Wood, gut, Portuguese

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