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Machete

Machete

  • Place of origin:

    Madeira (or Portugal, Made)

  • Date:

    1840-1870 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    planed and joined olivewood back and sides, planed pine soundboard, planed and inlaid rosewood fingerboard with brass frets.

  • Museum number:

    203-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The machete is a small guitar with four strings, played in Portugal, Madeira and Brazil, which was adopted in Hawaii in the 1880s as the ukelele. Carl Engel (1818-1882), an eminent musicologist from Hanover and the original owner, stated that 'the tone of this present specimen is remarkably voluminous and sonorous, considering the size of the instrument'.

Physical description

'Back of a single piece of olivewood and sides of the same. Belly of two pieces of pine inlaid round edges and round the soundhole with various woods, including a type of rosewood. Neck of pine, stained black, with a rosewood fingerboard inlaid with various woods in a feather design, and with seventeen brass frets and a wooden nut. The figure-of-eight shaped head has four pegs for four single strings.' - Anthony Baines:Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p. 62.

Place of Origin

Madeira (or Portugal, Made)

Date

1840-1870 (Made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (Made)

Materials and Techniques

planed and joined olivewood back and sides, planed pine soundboard, planed and inlaid rosewood fingerboard with brass frets.

Dimensions

Length: 50.5 cm length total, Length: 22.5 cm length of body, Width: 10.5 cm Width of upper bout, Width: 8 cm middle bout, Width: 13 cm lower bout

Object history note

This instrument was lent to the South Kensington Museum by its owner, Carl Engel (1818-1882), in 1874, and subsequently bought by the museum in 1882 for £2 - 10 - 0 (£2.50). Engel was an eminent musicologist from Hanover, who published the Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum in 1874. The South Kensington Museum has been known as the Victoria & Albert Museum since 1899.

Descriptive line

Olivewood, rosewood and other woods, Portuguese, 1840 - 70.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Anthony Baines:Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p.62
Carl Engel: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum, (London, 1874), p. 325.

Materials

Olive; Rosewood; Pine; Brass

Techniques

Inlay; Planing; Joining

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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