Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Sūr pyār (Compound Sitar, Tambura, Esraj)

Date:
late 19th century
Geography:
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Culture:
Indian
Medium:
gourd, wood, polychrome, steel and gut strings, ivory, metal
Dimensions:
47 1/2 in. (120.7 cm)
Classification:
Chordophone-Lute
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.1313
Not on view
This novelty instrument consists of a tāmbūra, sitār, and esrāj joined together at the base and peg box. Coined the “sūr pyār” or “lovely sound” by its inventors, Ashraf Ali and Nawab Ali, it demonstrates innovation in Indian instrument making in the 19th century. Labels on the three sides of the instrument are in English, Urdu, and Hindi. The presence of the three languages on a single instrument points to the multicultural cosmopolitanism of Lucknow at the time, as well as the diverse clientele of musical instrument makers. Notably, the esrāj features sympathetic strings, while the sitār does not.
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Asia, Gallery 27. 2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, vol. II, pg. 91.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Gallery 27. 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1901, vol. I, pg. 91.

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