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Tanbūr

Tanbūr

late 1800s

Wood, bone, mother-of-pearl, and wire

Overall: 58.4 x 10.5 cm (23 x 4 1/8 in.)

The Charles G. King, Jr. Collection. Gift of Ralph King in memory of Charles G. King, Jr. 1918.347

Location

Exhibition

Art of the Islamic World (Islamic art rotation)

Did you know?

The two pairs of wire strings would be played with a quill plectrum.

Description

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.

See also

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