Gourd and wood with pigment, ivory, and bone; copper alloy: frets; iron alloy: strings (with one modern copper replacement)
Overall: 95.2 x 15.3 cm (37 1/2 x 6 in.)
The Charles G. King, Jr. Collection. Gift of Ralph King in memory of Charles G. King, Jr. 1918.346
Many paintings of Indian court life depict female musicians holding and playing this kind of lightweight stringed instrument.
The stringed instrument known as the sitar usually provided the central sound for the musical performances that were a constant feature of court life in India. The sitar could then be accompanied by percussion, voice, and other supporting instruments. In Raja Deen Dayal’s photograph Maharaja of Rewa in Prayer (2016.266.21), a musician strums a sitar in order to please the deities on the royal altar. The improvised compositions are played in a mode, or key, that correlates to the time of day and season of the year.
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