Explore the rich traditions of Asian music in this exhibition of intricately designed instruments from throughout the continent—from Japan to Turkey, Tibet to Indonesia. The exhibition features well over 100 instruments from the MFA’s collections, augmented by loans. Paintings, prints, and books illustrating musical scenes show the varied cultures and contexts in which these instruments have been played.
Exhibition highlights include our nineteenth-century Javanese gamelan, a traditional Indonesian orchestra. Open for public listening, gamelan rehearsals are held every other Wednesday evening (July 13-December 14) from 7 pm to 9 pm in the exhibition gallery, culminating in a gamelan concert on January 8, 2006.
The exhibition debuts several outstanding Thai and Burmese instruments recently given to the Museum by Doris Duke’s Southeast Asian Art Collection. Additional recent acquisitions of fine Asian instruments include a Japanese shakuhachi end-blown flute by the early twentieth-century master player and builder Yamaguchi Shiro; a Turkish ud lute made in Constantinople at the end of the nineteenth century; and an unusual and handsomely decorated chang jew’s harp from northern Afghanistan. Also on view are instruments on loan from the Peabody-Essex Museum and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as private lenders, featuring an impressive pair of Tibetan dung-chen long trumpets, each over ten feet long; a rare Chinese bianqing imperial jade ritual chime; and a number of instruments from Korea and Iran.