Date: late 19th century

Geography: Algeria or Morocco

Culture: Algerian or Moroccan

Medium: Wood, parchment, metal

Dimensions: Height: 29 1/2 in. (74.9 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Lute-bowed-unfretted

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

Accession Number: 89.4.403


The term rebab refers to chordophones, particularly lutes and lyres, found in Islamic and Islamic-influenced lands. In North Africa, where this example is from, the rebab is most often a boat-shaped, two-string fiddle without frets. It is held across the player's body, with the pegbox against the left shoulder and the tailpiece on the right knee, and is played with a bow. The rebab is never played alone, and is used only to accompany singing. This instrument has been decorated with a delicate ivory inlay, in patterns reminiscent of other decorative objects of the same period from Algeria.