VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Biwa
MVK 5263
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This biwa is very beautifully decorated by black lacquer and gold hiramakie on the sides and back of its body. On the back are asymmetrically arranged circular medaillons with flowers and tendrils in finely worked gold inlay. On the sides the gold inlay depicts minutely carved insects in a very vivid and realistic manner. All in all this is a very fine and artistically crafted example of this kind of biwa.

History of the Object
The object was acquired by Dr. Richard Alois Baron Drasche von Wartinberg (1850-1923) during his geological expedition to the Far East in 1876. He donated it to the museum after his return to Austria.

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Type
Other 
Materials
wood, laquer, gold inlay 
Measurements
length 55 cm, width 26 cmbody: length 48 cm, width 26 cm, height 4,5 cm 
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th century; 1876 (before) 
Function
Instrument. A short-necked lute with a bent neck, a pear-shaped body, two crescent-shaped resonance holes, four frets, and four strings which are plucked with a plectrum. 
Acquisition
Acquired by the museum in January 1877 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State Property, Republic of Austria 
Museum
Weltmuseum Wien 
Credit line
 

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