Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Vina (ekanda vina)

ca. 1935
Chennai (Madras), India
Wood, papier-mâché, metal, bone
13 3/8 × 49 3/16 × 14 3/16 in. (34 × 125 × 36 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Premila and C.S. Narasimhan, 2008
Accession Number:
Not on view
Also known as a Sarasvati vina, this plucked lute is the principal stringed instrument of South Indian classical music. The ekanda vina, a Tanjore style, with body and neck is made from one piece of wood is highly valued for its tone. This type of vina features railings on each side of the neck to provide a platform for metal frets which are adhered with wax. The decoration with a golden dragon (yali) head and painted upper gourd-shaped papier-mâché bowl at the upper end distinguishes this type from the Hindustani bin, an instrument also referred to as a vina. This instrument was owned by C. S. Narasimhan, the last owner of Swadesamithran, the first Tamil newspaper owned and operated by Indians.
Dr. Premila Rathnam
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