The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 13, 2024

An African Lyre Player (recto)

An African Lyre Player (recto)

c. 1640–60
Location: not on view


The anonymity of the subject of this painting obscures whether this is a portrait of a historical person, or a generic depiction of a musician. The instrument in his hands is a bowl lyre, called a nanga, of the type from Nubia in northeastern Africa. Many Africans, mainly from Ethiopia, settled in the Deccan, on the western coast of southern India, where they found employment as soldiers, mercenaries, and administrators. While stereotypical associations of Africans with music and dance persist in this Deccani album page, the figure is well dressed and less caricatured than the painting from 100 years earlier of the dancing Zangi in the Tuti-nama (Tales of a Parrot).
  • Indian Gallery 242b Rotation – November 2016. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (November 7, 2016-April 10, 2017).
  • {{cite web|title=An African Lyre Player (recto)|url=false|author=|year=c. 1640–60|access-date=13 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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