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Zither

Native NameKoto
Object Number:29-172-8
Current Location: Collections Storage
Culture:Japanese
Provenience: Japan
Section:Asian
Materials:Wood
Gilt
Fabric
Credit Line:Received from various sources, pre-1929
Other Number:C-unknown - Seder Number

Description

Koto, also called kin, long Japanese board zither having 13 silk strings. The koto is played by plucking the strings with the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand, which are fitted with ivory plectrums called tsume. The koto appeared in the Japanese court during the 8th century and was called the gakusō.

Long known as the national instrument of Japan, the koto has been popular from the earliest periods of Japanese musical history to the present day in ensemble, chamber, and solo repertoires; its physical structure, performance practice, and musical characteristics have become symbols of Japanese identity. The koto is related to the Chinese zheng and se and the Korean kayagŭm and kǒmungo.

The body of the instrument is made of paulownia wood with gilt and fabric decorations. All 13 silk strings and one tassel are kept. There are three Japanese (Chinese) inscriptions "三五八" on the underside of the sound box. Very good condition.

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