This early thumb piano has been carved from a one single piece of wood except for the underside, which, in a very skilful instance of craftsmanship, has been carefully fitted and pinned with a slightly curving section of thin wood. The curved rectangular-shaped body of the instrument features a deep worn patina with multiple sound holes and seven iron keys, (one damaged) which can still be played and produces beautiful resolution. Geometric designs, similar in appearance to Swahili decorations found on furniture along the coastal regions of Tanzania, decorate the section above the metal keys - and engraved into the front of the section is a name, 'Frank.K'.
The technique used to create this thumb piano of carving the shell from one piece of wood with one other adjoining section demonstrates that it is one of the earliest types of African thumb pianos.
Estimated Period: Early 20th Century
Ex Private Collection UK
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