Art/ Collection/ Art Object


late 19th century
Coconut shell, wood, hide, ebony, pearl, iron, horsehair
W. 4 1/2 × L. 38 1/2 in. (11.4 × 97.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Miss Alice Getty, 1946
Accession Number:
Not on view
Rabāba or kamānja agūz, a spike fiddle used today to accompany folk singers. Two horsehair string pass over a coconut resonator covered with skin. The resonator can be turned on the spike to facilitate bowing. Once an integral part of the Arabic ensemble, it is today replaced by the violin and used only to accompany folk singers. The player may either sit cross-legged on the ground with the instrument to the front or on a chair with the spike resting on the chair between his legs or in a cup on his knee. Rabāba also refer to a quadrangular single-string instrument used in Saudi Arabia and the term kamānja agūz is an obsolete Egyptian name derived from the Persian term for this type of bowed lute.
Henry Harrison Getty ; Alice Getty
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