A traditional güiro is made from gourd-like fruit of the higüero tree (Crescentia cujete) that is native to the region. This musical instrument, common throughout the Caribbean, takes on various forms and can be made from modern materials like metal or plastic. A musical instrument of Pre-Columbian origin, it is played by scraping the carved ridges with the tines of a special pick or scraper.
Description (Spanish)
El güiro tradicional se hace con la calabaza del higüero, Crescentia cujete, que es un árbol nativo de la región. Este instrumento musical, común a todo el Caribe, se presenta de distintas formas y materiales, como de metal o plástico. Sus orígenes se remontan a la época precolombina. Se ejecuta raspando las ranuras talladas con las puntas de un puyero o raspador.
Currently not on view
Date made
20th century
Place Made
Puerto Rico
Physical Description
gourd (overall material)
overall: 40.7 cm x 10.2 cm x 10.3 cm; 16 in x 4 in x 4 1/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal
Puerto Rico
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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