late 1800s
Location: 116 Islamic
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The two pairs of wire strings would be played with a quill plectrum.


This long-necked lute collected in Ottoman Syria possesses traits that are Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian and provides an example of the musical interaction between cultures. It is an ancient instrument and resembles lutes used in Pharaonic Egypt and Mesopotamia. In its many forms, the tanbūr was a common instrument throughout the Islamic world. It is often used as a solo instrument in both sacred and secular contexts. Burn marks decorate the pear-shaped body along with inlaid dots of mother-of-pearl, which may also have helped with navigation of the fret board by the player.


late 1800s

Syria or Turkey, Ottoman period (1299–1922)

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