History and origin of the Jawari, flat table bridge

The oldest known instrument with a flat bridge is a Sumeric silver lyre, see illustration. This drawing of the "Silver Lyre" found at Ur illustrates the kind of lyre played in the royal courts. Here the flat table bridge can be seen clearly.

Sumeric Silver Lyre

The lyre was first mentioned about 2800 B.C. but is probably older. It can be said that although no bridge ever survived thousands of years there is however some good evidence that the flat bridge was used. This is visible on the very important Bas Reliefs (see photos) from Larsa 2000 BC and now in the Iraq Museum. This is no doubt the oldest form of evidence of the age of the flat table bridge.

Bas Reliefs from the Iraqi Museum

Thanks to Peter Pringle for this video showing how the flat bridge on a replica of the silver lyre from Ur produces jawari-like buzzing, Apparently, this instrument is around 5000 years old.

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