Paul's Guitar Museum

6. First pictorially depicted stringed instrument

Paul:   OK, now on to the first (including lyras harps etc.) pictorially depicted stringed instrument in human history... (Stringed instruments in literature or recorded history come later)

Egyptian bow harp - IV Dynasty - 4000 BC

THIS is the OLDEST STRINGED INSTRUMENT I can find so far. This is an Egyptian bow harp taken from Egyptian mural drawings and is with some probability the ancestor of modern harps. This is from the IV Dynasty - 3000 BC

Here is a Cycladic Marble statue of a harpist from the island of Keros. Phoenician idols found together with this harp points to the possibility that this harp originated in Phoenicia, which is expressly mentioned in Greek literature as one of the countries that in ancient times used triangular stringed instruments. It dates to 3000 BC and is now in the National Museum in Athens.

Cycladic Marble statue of a harpist from the island of Keros
modern reproduction of the silver lyra from Ur

On the right is a lyre player from the Mosaic Standard of UR. The piece is from 2600 BC and is now in the British Museum. >>>

<<< On the left is a modern reproduction of the silver lyra from Ur, now also in the British Museum.

lyre player from the Mosaic Standard of UR
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