Taūs (mayuri)

Date: 19th century

Geography: India

Culture: Indian

Medium: Wood, parchment, metal, feathers

Dimensions: W. 45 1/2 × D. 5 7/8 in. (115.5 × 15 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Lute-bowed-fretted

Credit Line: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889

Accession Number: 89.4.163


Popular at nineteenth century Indian courts, this bowed lute borrows features of other Indian stringed instruments, such as the body shape of the sarangi and the frets and neck of the sitar. There are four melody strings and fifteen sympathetic strings that sound when the instrument is played to accompany popular religious song. The peacock is the vehicle of Sarasvatî, the goddess of music, and it appears in Indian poetry as a metaphor for courtship.