Art/ Collection/ Art Object


ca. 1880
Tehran, Iran (Persia)
Iranian (Persian)
Wood, metal, bone, gut
Height: 40 1/2 in. (102.9 cm) Width: 6 in. (15.3 cm) Diameter: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher M. Brown III Gift, 1998
Accession Number:
Not on view
Kamānches, or bowed lutes, are often elegantly inlaid or painted, but this example is decorated with minute pieces of wood, bone, and brass in a mosaic technique called "khatam-kari." First described in the tenth century, the kamanche is the earliest documented bowed instrument and is frequently depicted being played by angels in Persian miniatures. Held upright on its spike, it is bowed with the right hand in a palm-up position, a handgrip used when bowed instruments were introduced to Europe and one still used around the world when playing spike fiddles.
#9335. Kamanche
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For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing. @2015 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 129, ill.

"Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1997-1998." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1998), pg. 12, ill.

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