on a stand

Four-string biwa, 19th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

Though its strings are now missing, this lute originally had four strings, making it a biwa, a plucked, stringed instrument with origins in Persia. It was transmitted to China (where it is known as pipa) around 2,000 years ago and to Japan by the 700s The oldest illustrations of The Tale of Genji that survive today, which were created around 1130, include a picture of one of the novel’s main characters, Prince Niou, playing a similar lute next to his pregnant wife, Nakanokimi.

Four-string biwa
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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on a stand