On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 251

The tambura is a plucked drone instrument used to accompany musical and vocal performances. In this example, the front face is decorated with an image of Ganesha. Here, the deity presides over the climactic scene from the epic the Ramayana, when Rama and Sita are reunited in the city of Ayodhya. The monkey god Hanuman (at left) and Lakshmana (at right) attend the couple. On the back of the instrument, the deities Shiva and Brahma flank a complex scene in which Krishna not only stands with his beloved Radha, but he has also multiplied himself to dance with all the gopis (cowherdesses). A similarly painted tambura is said to have been acquired in Vadodara, Gujarat, around 1893, suggesting the lively painting style was done in this center.

On view from November 19, 2022 – June 16, 2024

#Tambura demonstration by Benjamin Stewart, 2013.



  1. Tambura demonstration by Benjamin Stewart, 2013.
  2. 9352. Tambura
Tambura, Gourd, wood, ivory, bone, paint, steel, Indian

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