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Bīn (Mahatī vīnā), North India, RCM 278
Side view of the Bin, showing the two large gourds supporting the main tube


The Bīn, a stick zither from North India, consists of a long, hollow wooden tube under which two large bottle gourds are fixed.  The four melody strings rest on moveable frets positioned along the top of the tube according to the intervals required, while the three drone strings run along the sides of the tube.  The nut at the lower end is carved as a peacock with ivory fittings, balanced by a grotesque animal head finial at the top end.

Players hold the Bīn diagonally across the body with the peg box and one gourd over the left shoulder while plucking the strings with the right hand.   A demanding solo instrument for the professional, the Bīn had reached its present form by the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Tagore Collection, 1883
 

 

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