Lute (tambura)

Lute (tambūrā)

19th century

Object Place: Northern India


Length 135 cm, width 40.5 cm, depth 31.5 cm (Length 53 1/8 in., width 15 15/16 in., depth 39 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tun wood, calabash gourd, ivory

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Musical Instruments



Hemispherical body of calabash gourd. Neck and slightly arched soundtable of toonwood? Soundtable painted at center with gold-colored crossed scimitars above crescent moon. End of peg area covered with plate of ivory, painted with gold-colored flower and leaves. Shoulder of body, edges of neck, and heads of tuning pegs intricately decorated with foliate-shaped pieces of ivory set in black mastic. Four strings attached to string holder of ivory at lower end of body and to tuning pegs of hardwood with round heads. Four egg-shaped tuning beads of chalcedony. Bridge, nut, and string guider of ivory.


1992, sold by Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp, to the MFA, based on the recommendation of Museum Director Alan Shestack after seeing the object at the Maastricht Art Fair. (Accession Date: June 24, 1992)

Credit Line

Mary L. Smith Fund