Zither (mí-gyaùng)

mid-19th century

Object Place: Southern Burma


Length 113.8 cm, width 15.6 cm, height 15.9 cm (Length 44 13/16 in., width 6 1/8 in., height 6 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tropical hardwood

On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Musical Instruments



Elongated body of rosewood or huali wood, hollowed out through narrow opening in bottom, running nearly full length. Exterior carved in likeness of a crocodile. Traces of gilding on carved surfaces. Three strings attached at one end to later lateral turned tuning pegs of rosewood and at other end to wicket-shaped piece of brass behind head. Later nut of walnut. Three pairs of long wood plugs (projecting into interior) may mark positions of missing frets. Two additional similar plugs, along center line, near each end of body.


Before 1948, property of a Dorset, England, family who reportedly lived in colonial Burma; before 1993, sold by Dorset family to an antiques dealer, Dorset, England; by 1993, sold by antiques dealer, Dorset, to Jonathon Hope, London, England; 1993, sold by Hope to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 27, 1993)

Credit Line

Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund