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: 27.5 x 17.5 x 7 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 10 13/16 x 6 7/8 x 2 3/4 in
  • Gift of Claude D. Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3203

The thumb piano has a base made from five slats 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. It has a light natural color, but the keys are darker.