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
  • bamboo, wood, plant fiber
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 25.5 x 21.5 x 6 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 10 1/16 x 8 7/16 x 2 3/8 in
  • Gift of Claude D. Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3202

The thumb piano has a base made from four solid half cylinders of bamboo pith lashed together with plant fiber. The keys are narrow strips of bamboo of varying lengths, arranged in diagonal lines. They are held in place under a strip of bamboo and lifted over a wooden rod. The keys vary from medium to dark brown. The base is light natural.