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Kamanche

Date:
ca. 1880
Geography:
Tehran, Iran (Persia)
Medium:
Wood, metal, bone, gut
Dimensions:
L. 102.8 cm (45 in.); W. 15.3 cm (6 in.); Diam. 14 cm (5 1/2 in.)
Classification:
Chordophone-Lute-bowed-unfretted
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher M. Brown III Gift, 1998
Accession Number:
1998.72
  • Description

    Kamanches, or bowed lutes, are often elegantly inlaid or painted, but this example is decorated with minute pieces of wood, bone, and brass in a mosaic technique called "khatam-kari." First described in the tenth century, the kamanche is the earliest documented bowed instrument and is frequently depicted being played by angels in Persian miniatures. Held upright on its spike, it is bowed with the right hand in a palm-up position, a handgrip used when bowed instruments were introduced to Europe and one still used around the world when playing spike fiddles.

  • References

    "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1997-1998." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1998), pg. 12, ill.



  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
503503

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