Tanjore Tāmbūra (male)

Date: early 19th century

Geography: India

Culture: Indian

Medium: jackwood, rosewood, metal, bone

Dimensions: 57 1/2 × 15 × 10 in. (146.1 × 38.1 × 25.4 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Lute-plucked-unfretted

Credit Line: Purchase, Frederick M. Lehman Bequest, 2008

Accession Number: 2008.141.2a, b


This tāmbūra is the larger in a set of two and thus called the male. It is richly decorated with ivory inlay on the dark wood body. Its resonator is bowl-shaped and made of wood. This instrument was part of the collection of Y. G. Srimati, an Indian dancer and singer. She danced for Gandiji and Kasturba and sang bhajans (devotional songs) at his prayer meetings in Madras in 1936.