Detail View: The AMICA Library: Koto

AMICA ID: 
MMA_.1986.470.3
AMICA Library Year: 
2000
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Creator Nationality: 
Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: 
Japanese
Title: 
Koto
Title Type: 
Object name
View: 
Detail
Creation Date: 
20th century
Creation Start Date: 
1900
Creation End Date: 
1999
Materials and Techniques: 
Various woods, ivory, metal, nylon, tortoiseshell, abalone, lacquerwork
Classification Term: 
Chordophone without neck
Classification Term: 
Plucked zither
Dimensions: 
L. 74 in. (187.9 cm); W. 11 in. (27.9 cm); D. 7 in. (17.8 cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
1986.470.3
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Todes Family, 1986
Rights: 
Context: 

Koto music was introduced into Japan during the Nara period (710-84). It developed in the court and gradually entered the home as a sign of good breeding for daughters of the rising commercial class as well as those of the nobility. Nylon stringing and plastic bridges and plectrums are now replacing the traditional materials-silk for strings and ivory for its movable bridges (ji) and plectrums (tsume). Paulonia remains the wood used for the body of the zither. The lacquerwork on the sides shows scenes from 'The Tale of Genji.' Prince Genji consoled himself by playing the koto. Japanese romantic stories often employ the literary device of discovering a missing heroine by hearing her koto music.

Related Image Identifier Link: 
MMA_.mi1986.470.3.AV2.tif