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String Instruments

Stringed instruments were often used in conjunction with other instruments for worship. A good example of this is when David has the ark bought up to Jerusalem. The occasion is celebrated 'accompanied by musical instruments; lyres, harps and cymbals.' (1 Chronicles 15:16)
 
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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Bull Headed Lyre (restored)

 

Date: 2600 - 2000 BC.

Place: Tomb 789 at Ur (Iraq).

 

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

 

 

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Silver 'Boat-shaped' Lyre

 

Date: 2600 - 2000 BC

Place: Royal Cemetery at Ur (Iraq).

 

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

 

 

 

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Silver Lyre (restored)

 

Date: 2500 BC

Place: The 'Great death pit' at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (Iraq)

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Royal Harp (reconstructed)

 

Date: 2600 - 2000 BC

Place: The 'Great pit' at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (Iraq)

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.

 

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Ivory Lyre

 

Date: 14th to 13th century BC.

Place: Menidi Tholos tomb, near Athens, Greece.

 

A pair of sphinxes decorate the sound box at the bottom.

 

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

 

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Bronze Lyre

 

Date: 3rd to 2nd century BC.

Place: Antikythera Shipwreck

 

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

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Lyre

 

Date: around 1450 BC

Place: Cemetery west of Gournet Mourai  [Luxor] Egypt.

 

Made from Tamarisk wood.

 

Photographed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

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Triangular Harp

 

Date: 1069 - 332 BC

Place: Egypt

 

This harp is made from pine and cedar with modern strings.

 

Photographed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

 

1 Kings 10:12 describes harps and lyres made from almugwood. It is uncertain what this wood is - possibly Juniper or Sandalwood.

 

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Harps

 

Date: 1550 - 1295 BC

Place: Egypt

 

Photographed at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

 

The Bible tells us of David's skill in playing the harp:

 

"Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him". (1 Samuel 16:23)


Restored Lyre

 

Date: 5th or 4th Century BC

Place: Possibly Athens, Greece.

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England. 

 

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Arched Wooden Harp

 

Date: unknown

Place: Thebes, Egypt

 

Photographed at the British Museum, London, England.