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Lira da braccio

The Ashmolean’s lira is one of the few instruments of this kind that survives, and the smallest. It has five strings and two unstopped bourdon strings. The back is of a single piece of maple, the front a single piece of spruce. The lower bouts curve inwards towards the tailpin.The pegbox, ebony fingerboard, and tailpiece appear to be original. The instrument shows little sign of wear, especially on the pegbox, where the gold mauresque pattern is as fresh as when it was painted.

  • Date:
  • Maker:
    Giovanni Maria da Brescia
  • Collection:
    Ashmolean Museum
  • Inventory number:
  • Place of production:
    Venice (Timezone: Europe/Rome)
  • Culture:
  • Period:
  • Materials:
  • Specific materials/techniques:
  • Decorative elements:
  • Inscriptions:inscription/mark: Gioan maria bresiano / in Venetia (Printed label)
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:
  • Repository:Ashmolean Museum
  • Measurements:392 mm of back length; 187 mm upper bout (back) width; 131 mm middle bout (back) width; 230.75 mm lower bout (back) width; 325 mm string length