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Musical instrument or guitar

Wood and animal skin - Late nineteenth to early twentieth century

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Musical instrument from Nigeria

This musical instrument, made of wood and animal skin, is described on an attached label as a melo (also known as 'molo') guitar from the Hausa people of Nigeria. This type of three-string guitar may be the ancestor of the five-string banjo, as its third string is fastened so that the left hand cannot reach it and can only play one note, much like the five-string banjo. It was collected and donated to Reading Museum by Frank Aust, a missionary with the Sudan United Mission in Nigeria.

Frank Aust worked at the Rock Station mission station in Nigeria from its foundation in September 1904. The Museum holds no information about his work in Nigeria, but it is most probable that the objects he donated to the Museum were collected during his time there. Aust returned to England in around 1908, and later worked in Reading as a teacher of civil engineering.

Museum object number REDMG : 1973.93.1

See related topic: World Collection: Reading Missionaries

See related topic: World Collection: Belief

See this book for more information on the molo guitar and other instruments.