Lute, Wood with traces of paint, Roman/Byzantine


Made in Egypt
Wood with traces of paint
Overall: 4 3/4 x 1 7/16 x 28 13/16 in. (12 x 3.7 x 73.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 684
Strings ran from the top of this instrument’s long neck to the end of the sound box, which has indentations (called the waist) on its sides. The musician’s right hand probably plucked the strings while the left hand used the lower portion of the neck as a fingerboard. This lute is one of only four of the type to survive; the indentations on the sound box suggest that it may be an ancestor of the guitar.
#870. Kids: Lute
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[ Maurice Nahman, Cairo, Egypt (sold 1912)]
Ransom, Caroline L. "Egyptian Furniture and Musical Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 8, no. 4 (April 1913). p. 77, fig. 9.

Kerr Dobney, Jayson. "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsman From Italy to New York." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 68, no. 3 (Winter 2011). pp. 4–5, fig. 1.

Moore, J. Kenneth, Jayson Kerr Dobney, and Bradley Strauchen-Scherer, ed. Musical Instruments: Highlights of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. p. 35.