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Images from The Beede Gallery

Stick Zither with Gourd Resonators (Rudra Vina or Bin), Northern India, Early 20th Century

Top view of bin

Side view of bin

Another side view of bin

Bottom of bin

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

NMM 5267. Stick zither with gourd resonators (rudra vina or bin), northern India, early 20th century. Tubular body of cane or bamboo with twenty frets attached with a mixture of resins and beeswax. Four strings over the fretboard and three drone strings. The bin was one of the main instruments of Hindustani music from the 16th to the late 19th century and examples are depicted in iconography as early as the 5th century. It is said that the vibrations of the strings penetrate deeply into the player's body and, according to Tantric-Yogic symbolism, the stick and frets represent the human spine and a cosmic axis. The gourds are said to symbolize either the breasts of Shiva's wife, Parvati, or of Saraswati, the goddess of the arts and learning, while the shape of the pegs represent lotus blossoms. The bin is especially suited to playing Dhrupad, a slow, meditative style of music. This particular bin was played by Ustad Usman Khan (1915-ca. 1976), a musician in the court of the Maharaja of Indore, who left it with a student of his in the U.S. following a late 1970s concert tour. Purchase funds gift of Tom and Cindy Lillibridge, Bonesteel, South Dakota, 1992.


Gourd Resonator Details

Gourd resonator Crescent moon and star on resonator Bottom of resonator


Wooden End Cap and Saddle

Side view of end cap Front view of end cap Saddle


Views of Frets, Nut, and a Peg

Side view of frets Nut and frets Peg and frets


Literature:  "Recent Acquisitions," Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 19, No. 3 (April 1992), p. 3.

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