1966.1.1055

Lyre with wooden frame, bowl-shaped tortoiseshell resonator and six strings, two broken [RTS 21/9/2005].

Place details: AFRICA. South Sudan. Jonglei Bahr el Zeraf. Cultural Group: ?Nuer Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Wood Plant / Animal Hide Skin / Tortoiseshell Reptile / Sinew / Textile / ?. Processes: Carved Carpentered / Stained / Twisted Tied / Strung Wound / Covered Perforated / Woven Recycled / ?. Colour: Yellowish brown frame (Pantone 730C), dark reddish brown shell(Pantone 439C), yellowish brown hide cover (Pantone 7508C), greenish brown strings (Pantone 7502C), buff textile (Pantone 7506C), orangey brown peg (Pantone 729C) [RTS 21/9/2005]. Weight: 742.1 g Dimensions: Total L = 558; cross bar L = 396, diam = 15.5; arm L = 580, diam = 16.5; soundbox L = 228, W = 193, depth = 67; sound hole diam = 10; string diam = 2, L = 520 mm [RTS 21/9/2005]. When Collected: By 1928 Acquired: Purchased 1966 Other Numbers: 1928.81.23

KEYWORD: Musical Instrument / Lyre / CLASS: Music / ?.MUSIC CLASS: 3 - Cordophones. MUSIC NAME: Bowl Lyre (6).

Object description: Bowl lyre, consisting of a wooden frame or string bearer made from 3 branches with their bark removed and the surface stained a yellowish brown colour (Pantone 730C). One piece rests horizontally across the top to form a cross-bar; this has been pierced near either rounded end. Two longer pieces of wood extend down at an acute angle from this to form the sides of the frame; their tops have been whittled down to points that have been slotted into the cross-bar holes. The space between the wooden arms gradually lessens as one approaches the soundbox; they are 326 mm apart at their top ends, and almost touching at their bases. These arms have been laid across the rim of the soundbox or resonator bowl, which is made from a dark reddish brown tortoise shell with convex back (Pantone 439C); both bowl and lower arms were then covered with a piece of yellowish brown hide, which has been stretched tight across the surface and over to the underside of the bowl (Pantone 7508C). The upper surface of the hide has been perforated with a circular sound hole near the upper end of the bowl; this has a denticulated edge. On the underside, the cover have been pierced around its edge, and hide thongs with traces of buff hair run between here and a circular hide ring near the centre of the back, lashing the two tightly together and keeping the cover taut. Two further thongs have been threaded through these ties as they run around the circumference between these two sections. There are no sound holes visible in the underside of the carapace.

The lyre has four strings surviving intact, and 2 additional strings that have broken near their centres. These have been made from a twisted 3-ply greenish brown sinew cord (Pantone 7502C), and lie in the same plane as the resonator. These were wound round the cross-bar at the top, over padding made from additional string binding, and in one case, frm recycled buff coloured cloth (Pantone 7506C). The strings extend down from this point to near the lower edge of the bowl, where they pass through a hole in the hide surface, then out again through the side wall of the bowl, where they are tied to a short orangey brown wooden peg with a groove cut around its centre (Pantone 729C). The object is complete, but the strings are frayed, some have broken, and there is wear across the top of the sound board where the strings have rubbed into the surface. It has a weight of 742.1 grams, and a total length of 558 mm; the cross bar is 396 mm long and 15.5 mm in diameter; the arms are 16.5 mm in diameter and around 580 mm long; the soundbox is 228 mm long, 193 mm wide and 67 mm deep; the sound hole has a diameter of 10 mm; the strings have a diameter of 2 mm and a length, from crossbar to lower sound box, of 520 mm [RTS 21/9/2005].