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Saung-gauk (harp)

  • Place of origin:

    Burma (made)

  • Date:

    before 1880 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood covered with thitsi lacquer and partly gilded and painted; skin, silk.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

It has a black and gold boat shaped resonator the upper surface of which is covered with skin and a tall arch rising from the prow below which there is a design of bird and flowers on a blue ground. The strings (now missing) would have run diagonally from the long pierced ridge on top of the resonator to the arch to which they would have been fastened by the red tasselled tuning cords.

Place of Origin

Burma (made)


before 1880 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wood covered with thitsi lacquer and partly gilded and painted; skin, silk.

Object history note

Historical significance: Traditionally used in chamber music ensembles with the thro (violin); patala (xylophone) & mi-gyaung (crocodile zither) or to accompany vocal presentations.
Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. 1880 Register Entry: [Room No. 7- continued. Case 41.] '02,044. HARP. "Pa-Ma," black lacquer, with painted ornament; Burmah.' (No slip number given.)

Descriptive line

Saung-gauk, Burmese boat shaped harp. Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885). Black lacquer partly gilt with painted ornament - bird and flowers on blue ground. ca. before 1880.


Wood; Thitsi lacquer; Gold leaf; Ash; Silk; Pigment


Woodworking; Lacquering; Textile process; Colouring


India Museum


South & South East Asia Collection

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