Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

sansa (thumb piano)
  • unknown Chokwe maker
  • sansa (thumb piano), late 1800s–1908
  • Where object was made: Angola
  • wood, seeds, metal, plant fiber, leather, carving, incising
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 22 x 16 x 6 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 8 5/8 x 6 1/4 x 2 3/8 in
  • Gift of Claude D. Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3200

The rectangular wooden thumb piano has a resonating chamber open to the slightly flared end of the rectangle. The other end has a short leather loop. The metal keys are of varying lengths and are roughly arranged in diagonal lines. There is a band of small diamonds incised at the end of the piano near the opening. There are two strands of twisted plant fiber that are tied around the piano, over the top of the incised decoration, each with a large brown seed.

A metal rod with four metal tubes is visible in the resonating chamber.