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Images of Musicians

Musicians played a key part in the worship of God by the Israelite people. 1 Chronicles 23:5 describes King David appointing 4000 Levites to be musicians, and to play the instruments he had provided them.
 
Scroll down the page for further information about each image. Click on each image to bring up a full sized picture (some of the images on this page are cropped). You can right click on each image and save using 'save background as'.
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Greek Musical Notations

 

Date: 2 - 3rd century AD

Place: unknown

 

Written on papyrus

 

Photographed at the Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

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Musicians on Royal Standard of Ur

 

Date: c. 2550 BC

Place: Ur [Iraq]

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Prisioners Playing Lyres

 

Date: 700 - 692 BC

Place: South-west palace, Nineveh [Iraq]

 

The clothing of these prisoners suggest they may have come from Phoenicia. They are been escorted by an Assyrian. This image recalls the experience of the Jewish captives in Babylon recorded in Psalm 137:

 

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!' How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?

 

Assyrian Musicians

 

Date: 645 BC

Place: Palace of Assurbanipal, Nineveh [Iraq]

 

Alabaster relief

 

Photographed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

 

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Hittite Musicians

 

Date: 8th century BC

Place: Sam'al, Zincirli [Turkey]

 

Carved on Basalt.

 

Photographed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Istanbul, Turkey.

 

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Male Musician Playing Harp

 

Date: Unknown

Place: Ischali (ancient Nerbitum) [Iraq]

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

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Male Musician Playing Harp

 

Date: Unknown

Place: Ischali (ancient Nerbitum) [Iraq]

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

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Musician Playing Lute

 

Date: 2000 - 1800 BC

Place: Kititum Temple, Ischali (ancient Nerbitum), [Iraq]

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

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Egyptian Models of Men Playing Harps

 

Left: Baked clay model of man playing a floor harp

Date: 1350 - 1070 BC (18-19th dynasties, New Kingdom)

Place: Egypt

 

Right: Limestone model of a man playing a tall harp

Date: 1330 BC (18th dynasty, New Kingdom)

Place: Egypt

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

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Egyptian Model of Harpist

 

Date: 2477 BC

Place: Tomb of Nykauinpu, Giza, Egypt.

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Egyptian Musicians

 

Date: 2477 BC

Place: Tomb of Nykauinpu, Giza, Egypt.

 

Photographed at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

 

The figure in the middle is a dwarf with his legs extended.

 

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Female Tambourine Players

 

Date: 6th Century BC

Place: Unknown

 

Photographed at the Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany.

Dance Lessons on Kalyx Krater

 

Date: 440 - 430 BC

Place: Greek

 

Photographed at the Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

 

 

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Female Dancer

 

Date: 4th - 2nd century BC

Place: Athens, Greece

 

Photographed at the Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

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Female Dancer

 

Date: 4th - 2nd century BC

Place: Athens, Greece

 

Photographed at the Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany.

 

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Marble Relief Slab

 

Date: 330 - 320 BC.

Place: Montinaeia, Arkadia

 

This relief depicts three of the nine muses.  

 

Photographed at the National Archeological Museum of Athens, Athens, Greece.

 

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Marble Relief Slab

 

Date: 330 - 320 BC.

Place: Montinaeia, Arkadia

 

This relief depicts three of the nine muses.  

 

Photographed at the National Archeological Museum of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Marble Relief Slab

 

Date: 330 - 320 BC.

Place: Montinaeia, Arkadia

 

This relief depicts a musical contest between Apollion sitting on a rock holding a kithara, and Marsyas on the right playing a flute. A Scythian stands in the centre ready to kill the insolent Marsyas with a horrible death.

 

Photographed at the National Archeological Museum of Athens, Athens, Greece.

 

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Apollo Playing Kithera

 

Photographed at the National Museum of Rome, Rome, Italy.

 

 

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Satyr Playing Double Pipes

 

Date: 1st  - 2nd century AD.

Place: Roman

 

The pipes on this bronze figure have been restored.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

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Musician with Seven Stringed Lyre

 

Date: 460 BC

Place: Unknown

 

Photographed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 

 

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Musician on Attic Red Figure Kylix

 

Date: 480 BC

Place: Possibly the necropolis of Vulci, Etruria, [Italy]

 

By the potter Brygos.

 

Photographed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 

 

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Painted Wall Panels showing Musicians

 

Date: c 470 BC

Place: Possibly the Necropolis of Vulci, Etruria, Italy

 

Shows a male flutist and female lyrist.

 

Photographed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts  USA.

 

 

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Woman playing Kithara

 

Date: 2nd century BC

Place: Unknown

 

Photographed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Istanbul, Turkey.

 

 

 

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Woman playing Kithara

 

Date: 50 - 40 BC (Roman)

Place: From the villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoraele, Italy.

 

Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, USA.

 

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Fresco of Woman playing Lyre

 

Date: 50 - 79 AD

Place: Pompeii [Italy]

 

This fresco has been described as a music lesson or as a scene of love, showing a woman and her lover.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Fresco of Woman playing Lyre (detail)

 

Date: 50 - 79 AD

Place: Pompeii [Italy]

 

This fresco has been described as a music lesson or as a scene of love, showing a woman and her lover.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Woman playing a Lute (Pandoura)

 

Date: 300 BC

Place: Probably Cyprus

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Woman playing a Kithara with a Plectrum

 

Date: 3rd - 2nd Century BC

Place: Greek, probably Southern Italy

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Terracotta Lamp in the form of an Organist Playing a Water Organ

 

Date: Late 2nd to early 3rd century AD

Place: Made in Africa [modern Tunisia]

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

Accompanying sign reads:

'On each side of the instrument are air pumps; the pressure of water in the central column regulated the supply of air to the pipes, which were themselves controlled by a keyboard or pull-and-push stops.'

 

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Terracotta Lamp in the form of an Organist Playing a Water Organ

 

As above.

 

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Bronze Medallion Showing Water Organ

 

Date: Late 4th century AD

Place: Roman

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Harpist Stele

 

Date: 1069 – 664 BC. (Third Intermediate Period

Place: Egypt

 

Photographed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

 

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Marble Relief with Satyr Playing Double Pipes

 

Date: 2nd – 3rd century AD

Place: Roman

 

Possibly was originally part of a sarcophagus.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.