Lute (sitar)

early 20th century

Object Place: Possibly Bikaner, Rajastan province, India


Length 118 cm, width 28 cm, depth 22 cm (Length 46 7/16 in., width 11 in., depth 8 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tun wood, gourd, ivory

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Musical Instruments



Hemispherical body of calabash gourd, decorated with foliate designs in red, green, and gold paint. Neck and slightly arched soundtable of toonwood? Edges of body and neck, and front of peg area intricately decorated with foliate-shaped pieces of ivory (or possibly bone) set in black mastic. Five main strings and eleven sympathetic strings attached to three buttons of ivory at lower end of body and to tuning pegs of ivory with elaborately carved heads (main strings) and ebony with double-lobed heads (sympathetic strings). Sixteen frets of brass with bindings of gut. Bridges, nut, and string guider of ivory.


By 1940, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Boston, Massachusetts, who loaned it to the MFA beginning in 1940; before 1971, by descent to his wife, Dona Luisa Coomaraswamy, Boston, Massachusetts; 1971, gift of the estate of Dona Luisa Coomaraswamy to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 10, 1971)

Credit Line

Bequest of estate of Mrs. Dona Luisa Coomaraswamy