VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Morin Huur (horse-head fiddle)
U.71-144-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The last owner of this horse-head fiddle was Tundev, a famous player of the horse –head fiddle. This horse-head fiddle was made in 1939 in Huvsgul aimag, Northern Mongolia. The horse-head top was made by the Gombojav. The bone decoration was carved by Ts. Gombo. The horse-head fiddle has a trapezoid–shaped sound box of wood (here covered with the skin of a camel calf) and two horsehair strings. The strings are made of hair from a horse's tail. To make the strings, the hair is boiled and stretched to the required length. The sound holes are on the back, as in this example, or on the sides. The horse-head fiddle is one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity identified by UNESCO in 2003.

History of the Object
This stringed musical instrument derived its name from the horse-head ornament that forms its top. This traditional musical instrument played an important role in the musical culture and spiritual life of Mongolians. The horse-head fiddle is part of daily life, customs and rituals, and immensely interwoven with the Mongolian intellectual development. The horse-head fiddle is highly respected in Mongolia and every family is likely to possess one and places a special value on it. Mongolian traditional songs and melodies are played on it, although it can also be used to play any other type of music.

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Type
Musical instruments 
Materials
Wood, camel skin, horsehair, camel bone, jadeite 
Measurements
Height 120 cm.  
Creator name
Famous craftsman Ts. Gombojav and Ts. Gombo 
Creator date
Early 20th Century 
Where it was made
Huvsgul aimag, Northern Mongolia 
Geography
Mongolia 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 1939 
Function
National stringed musical instrument of Mongolia 
Acquisition
Purchased by the museum in May 1971 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
The National Museum of Mongolia 
Museum
National Museum of Mongolia 
Credit line
 

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