We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and give respect to Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2007/12/1 Kankles or zither, with timber body and [spruce] soundboard, wood / metal, made by Puisys, Jurbarkas, Lithuania, 1930-1945, used by Izidorius Giedraitis in Lithuania and Australia. Click to enlarge.

Zither

Made
The Museum's collection contains a number of zithers, mainly of German origin but this instrument is the first Lithuanian instrument to enter the collection and is a very different in shape and design from the heavily lacquered German zithers. However, the Kankles has greater parallels to zithers from Finland, Latvia and Estonia. Traditionally the Kankles was used to play folk melodies and to accompany folk songs and dances but it was also possibly used in rituals. Several types of Kankles exist based on both region and use and this instrument appears to be a northwestern type. The instrument is also significant as it was highly prized by the donor when a refugee after World War Two and helps to illustrate stories of relocation from traditional homelands and eventual migration to Australia.

Summary

Object No.

2007/12/1

Object Statement

Kankles or zither, with timber body and [spruce] soundboard, wood / metal, made by Puisys, Jurbarkas, Lithuania, 1930-1945, used by Izidorius Giedraitis in Lithuania and Australia

Physical Description

Kankles or zither, with timber body and [spruce] soundboard, wood / metal, made by Puisys, Jurbarkas, Lithuania, 1930-1945, used by Izidorius Giedraitis in Lithuania and Australia

Series of 14 pairs of metal strings stretched over the body. Red stencilled circular decoration on soundboard around sound hole rose with cut petal-like decoration. Angled bridges each end of instrument. Carved horn shaped scroll protrudes from the larger bridge. Two red stencilled strips on soundboard at narrower end of instrument near small bridge.

Includes T-shaped tuning hammer with wooden handle and metal stem.

Production

Made

Notes

Made by the kankles maker Puisys in the town of Jurbarkas, Lithuania. The donor noted that the maker lived next to a tiny river called the Imsre with his two sisters who wove floor runners from rag strips, which was a very popular floor covering, especially in Northern Europe. The maker also made looms and weaving necessities.

History

Notes

Used by the donor and taken with her to Australia as a refugee after leaving Lithuania. The instrument was made for the donor's uncle (her father's brother), Izidorius Giedraitis and then given to the donor. There were apparently two instruments made and the uncle kept the smaller instrument.

The donor also noted that her father, Antana Gedraitis (b.1891) was a Primary School Inspector in the district of Reseiniai and also wrote signing his name as Antanas Giedrius-Giedraitis. He was for a time the Director of Vasaris 16 Lithuanian High School in Germany. He migrated to the USA and died there in 1973 or 1975.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Danute I Giedraityte, 2007

Acquisition Date

22 January 2007

Cite this Object

Harvard

Zither 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 April 2021, <https://ma.as/363166>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/363166 |title=Zither |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=14 April 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Technology & Innovation at the Museums Discovery Centre.