c. 1850
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Many paintings of Indian court life depict female musicians holding and playing this kind of lightweight stringed instrument.


The stringed instrument known as the sitar usually provided the central sound for the musical performances that were a constant feature of court life in India. The sitar could then be accompanied by percussion, voice, and other supporting instruments. In Raja Deen Dayal’s photograph Maharaja of Rewa in Prayer (2016.266.21), a musician strums a sitar in order to please the deities on the royal altar. The improvised compositions are played in a mode, or key, that correlates to the time of day and season of the year.


c. 1850

Eastern India, Bengal or Bangladesh

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