Sanxian, rosewood, mother-of-pearl, snake skin, ivory, Chinese

Sanxian

Date:
ca. 1900
Geography:
China
Culture:
Chinese
Medium:
rosewood, mother-of-pearl, snake skin, ivory
Dimensions:
L. 32 3/8 × W. 5 3/8 in. (82.2 × 13.7 cm)
Classification:
Chordophone-Lute-plucked-unfretted
Credit Line:
Gift of Estate of Mrs. Alexander Glass, 1944
Accession Number:
44.51.1
Not on view
Two forms are found: a large one from the North, with a thin metal plate attached inside to enrich the sound; and a smaller version from the South. Like the pipa, the sanxian may accompany narrative song, changing its tuning to accommodate the singer. The bat decorating the finials of these instruments is depicted on many Chinese objects and is a symbol of good luck.
Mrs. Alexander Glass
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing. @2015 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 162, ill.