Bowed zither

Josef Ferdinand Sprenger (German, 1846–1914)

Object Place: Nuremberg, Germany


Length 61 cm, width 27.2 cm (Length 24 in., width 10 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony

Not On View


Europe, Musical Instruments



Shallow sound-box of modified viol form. Back of two pieces of maple. Ribs of maple. Belly of pine with two narrow f-holes, purfled. Both back and belly with overhanging edges as on violins. Neck and peg-plate of maple. Ebony finger-board with twenty-nine brass frets. Three ivory pegs at the back, serving a supporting points of instrument on a table. Five strings: the two higher ones of steel wire, the lower three of spun silk. Frontal type of string tuning end fastening; anterior pegs of round steel with square ends. Inside construction: no corner blocks (owning to the peculiar outline of body): sound-post; bass-bar on the left side (opposite to that of violin) owing to the higher strings being located on the right side of the instrument.


Printed label: [hand pointing right] Ferdinand Sprenger [hand pointing left] / Instrumentenmacher in Nurnberg / (vormals Carl Sprenger) 18 [handwritten: 79]; stamped on fingerboard: Sprenger / Nürnberg


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection