Gourd Folk Fiddle

Description (Brief)
This folk fiddle was made in St. Mary's County, Maryland in the 19th century by an unknown maker. This fiddle and its accompanying bow are probably from the black slave cultural tradition of the American plantation. The instrument is made with a skin top nailed to a gourd body, and was recovered from an outbuilding of a large estate in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. This folk fiddle is made of a table of hide fastened with fifty-five iron nails to the gourd body which has two “slit” soundholes, neck of walnut with pegbox and four ash pegs, and a hardwood fingerboard and bone nut. The bow made for the fiddle is modeled after classical bow design.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fiddle
Date made
19th century
Physical Description
gourd (body material)
walnut (neck material)
skin (table material)
iron (nails material)
Measurements
overall: 23 3/4 in x 6 in x 6 in; 60.325 cm x 15.24 cm x 15.24 cm
Place Made
United States: Maryland, Saint Marys county
ID Number
MI*75.44
accession number
316462
catalog number
75.44
subject
African American
Blacks
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Violins
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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