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Zither, 1930 - 1945
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Object statement
Kankles / zither, wood / metal, made by Puisys, Jurbarkas, Lithuania, 1930-1945
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.
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.
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.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Kankles / zither, wood / metal, made by Puisys, Jurbarkas, Lithuania, 1930-1945

Zither with timber body and [spruce] soundboard. 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 date
1930 - 1945

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Danute I Giedraityte, 2007
+ Musical instrument design
+ Migration experience
+ post war migration
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: https://ma.as/363166
Cite this object in Wikipedia
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{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/363166 |title=Zither |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=22 February 2017 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}

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Object viewed times. Parent IRN: 2131. Master IRN: 2131 Img: 171820 Flv: H:5440px W:4080px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.