Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Athabascan Family
19th century
Arizona, United States
Native American (Apache)
Agave flower stalk, wood, paint, horsehair
Tsii'edo'a'tl: 17 5/16 × 5 1/4 × 3 3/4 in. (44 × 13.3 × 9.5 cm) Bow: 3 1/8 × 5/8 × 21 in. (7.9 × 1.6 × 53.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.2631a, b
Not on view
The Apache name for this two-stringed bowed zither means "wood that sings." Held against the chest or stomach and bowed like European fiddles, it is used for personal enjoyment or to entertain at home with songs and dances. The hollowed agave stalk body is decorated with traditional designs, and the strings attached to the ends of the tube are of horsehair. As it is the only Native-American bowed instrument, it remains unclear as to whether it is indigenous or of European derivation.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing. @2015 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 150, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Oceanica and America. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1913, vol. II, pg. 106, ill.

Related Objects

Square Piano

Artist: Robert Nunns (British, (active United States) 1791–1869) Date: 1853 Medium: Rosewood, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, abalone, felt, metal, paint, gilding Accession: 06.1312 On view in:Gallery 736


Artist: Christian Frederick Martin (Markneukirchen, Saxony 1796–1873 Nazareth, Pennsylvania) Date: ca. 1838 Medium: Wood, maple, spruce, abalone, ebony, metal, brass, ivory Accession: 1979.380a, b On view in:Not on view

Tsii' Edo' Ai

Artist: Chappo Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache Native American, 1867–1894 Mt. Vernon Barracks, Alabama) Date: 19th century Medium: Wood, metal, gut strings Accession: 89.4.596a, b On view in:Not on view


Date: late 19th century Medium: Wood, armadillo shell Accession: 89.4.2881 On view in:Not on view

Tsii' Edo' Ai

Date: 19th century Medium: Wood; sinew, horsehair Accession: 89.4.600 On view in:Not on view