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Images from The Beede Gallery

Long-Necked Lute (Pamir Robab), Pamir Region of Central Asia, ca. 1650

Front of Pamir robab Left side of Pamir robab Right side of Pamir robab Back of Pamir robab

NMM 5580. Long-necked lute (Pamir robab), Pamir region of central Asia, ca. 1650. Made of a single piece of fruitwood with a hollow fingerboard. Skin-covered belly attached to body with eight metal nails. Originally configured for eight strings. Currently set up with six strings in three pairs, with one string shorter than the others, perhaps to be tuned to a higher octave. Pegbox a later replacement. A Persian inscription on the lute translates: "The dearest precious robab in the name of Seyyed Hasan Shah the year 1025." This text clearly places the instrument in the 17th century (the Islamic calendar began ca. 570 AD). Length: 765 mm. Ex coll.: Mamaldali Yusopovich Halikov, Russia. Board of Trustees, 1993.

Click on any image on this page to see a larger view.

Front, Side, Back, and Lower End of Body

Front of robab Bass side view Treble side view Back view

Soundholes in belly

Lower end Lower end string attachment and bridge

Eight notches, made to accommodate the original stringing, are clearly visible on the end of the robab.

Front and Side Views of Pegbox

Bass side of pegbox Front of pegbox Treble side of pegbox

Front, Side, and Back Views of Neck

Back of neck, with cord
Front of neck
Back of neck
Detail of fingerboard

Peg added at side of neck

Persian Inscription

Inscription on back of neck Translation of inscription Inscription on back of neck, view 2

A Persian inscription can be clearly seen with infrared light, located underneath the original varnish on the back of the neck and the left quadrant of the body. Translation courtesy of Islamic Department, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (1993).

Literature:  "Important Instruments Acquired in 1993," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 21, No. 2 (January 1994), p. 4.

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