Historic & Rare Instruments

There are many beautiful and old musical instruments of India in the world today. Many of them are in museums across the globe while many others are cared for by private collectors. Some of them are still playable while others are in need of major restoration.

Since every instrument has a distinct sound and a unique history, it is difficult to define the attributes of a historic and rare instrument. For example, the sitar is a very common Indian classical instrument. However, a sitar that was produced in Bishnupur during the 1850s with a “Kachhua” type of “Pumpkin” (sound chamber) and no sympathetic strings or “Tarabs” would most certainly be a historic and rare instrument. On the other hand, a surshringar made in the 1990s might be classified as historic and rare since there are so few of them in existence today.

The following is a list of types of stringed instruments that one might consider rare regardless of the instrument’s age, condition or provenance.

  • Bin Sitar
  • Chandra Veena
  • Dilbahar
  • Mayuriveena (displayed above)
  • Mohan Veena (designed by Radhika Mohan Maitra)
  • Naba Deepa
  • Rudra Veena
  • Rudra Veena (designed by Radhika Mohan Maitra)
  • Surbahar
  • Surchain
  • Surrabab
  • Surshringar
  • Swarabad or Swarabat