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Miscellaneous                                       back to miscellaneous  

Minstrel Bones                                     American, 19th century

Maker unknown
Nailsea or Bristol

Clappers or castanets made of animal rib bones (later hardwood) were known in Europe since the Middle Ages. These "bones" are played in pairs held between the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. They regularly appeared in the musical ensemble in the 19th-century American minstrel show.

Two pairs of rosewood clappers with silver mounts. The mounts on two of the clappers are engraved: "Presented / to / C. H. Atkinson / by the / Niagara Fire Association / New Britain / Ct. / June 9th / 1860."  Overall length: 16.8 cm


Provenance Gift of G. Lauder Greenway
Accession No. 1000.1963

                

 

 

 
   
 

 

 

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