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Sho; mouth organ

Sh?, mouth blown free reed instrument. Wooden wind chamber with projecting mouthpiece, which has two parabolic sides meeting at straight edges at top and bottom. Rectangular mouth hole positioned at the centre of end face. Wind chamber lacquered and decorated in gold cherry blossom designs. Top of base circular with seventeen holes for tapering pieces of wood coloured gold, onto each of which a bamboo pipe is fitted. A silver band, moulded to represent bamboo nodes, secures pipes. The two longest bamboo pipes are on opposite sides, the others arranged according to their size as two 'V's with stepped sides. These represent the folded wings of the mythical fire-bird, the phoenix. Two pipes are silent, the others each have a free reed at lower end inside the wind chamber and a finger hole above the chamber. Each pipe acts as an acoustic coupler to the reed, causing it to sound when wind is blown into it only when the fingerhole is covered. The two shortest pipes, positioned to the player's left, have rectangular metal-bushed vents near the top and metal ferrules at upper rims. The two longest pipes have an opened node at upper rim. Bottom of 'V' to player's right has a gap the width of two pipes, within which the silver band forms a smaller ring within the circle of the pipes. A purple cord terminating in two large tassels is tied to this inner ring.

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  • Materials:vegetable fibre, metal, lacquer, bone, wood
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  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:412.132 Sets of free reeds
  • Repository:Horniman Museum and Gardens