Artistic Handcraft - Tamboura

Teakwood, gourd, metal and bone
Size:126 cm
Origin and time: India, Rajasthan, circa 1800
Catalogue: Schätze des Aga Khan Museum, AKTC
Inv. No. AKM 00700

The tamboura is a long-necked plucked lute with usually four or five wire strings. Its shape is similar to that of a sitar (Persian word for “three strings”), but a tamboura has no frets. The sizes and pitches of tambouras can vary depending on whether they are accompanying vocalists or other instruments as for example sitars or sarods. Usually the bigger tambouras are used for male vocalists, while the smaller ones are used for female vocalists. Although the instrument seems easy to handle, it requires high concentration in order to play it in a way that it does not disturb but complement the melody. Tambouras come in three different styles: Miraj style, Tanjore style and Tamburi (a very small exemplar of a tamboura). The instrument is typical both of North India and South India; the exhibited lute originates from North India. The sitar belongs to the same instrument family, is plucked in a similar way and is typical of India and Persia. LA/SP