Sanxian (三弦 )


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

There are two main forms of the sanxian: 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.

Sanxian (三弦 ), rosewood, mother-of-pearl, snake skin, ivory, Chinese

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