Edinburgh Local

Object of the month: Indian Mayuri Lute

Every month we feature a fascinating object that's on display in one of the University's museums and galleries. You're invited to come along to the exhibition and see it for yourself! This month: an Indian Mayuri lute

Peacock lute
Object of the month: Indian Mayuri lute

This bowed lute in the shape of a peacock is known as a Mayuri or Taus and was made in India in the Nineteenth Century. It was played by classical musicians in Indian courts. The peacock is India’s national bird and is associated with the goddess Saravisti, a deity representing kindness, compassion and patience. It’s majestic and graceful form and the astounding colours of its feathers mean that throughout time artists of different faiths have depicted it in a vast variety of different forms, including as we see here, as a musical instrument. As well as being very beautiful to look at, the rounded shape of the peacock’s belly means that it produces a deep and resonant sound.

The Mayuri is one of the favourites among our younger visitors (alongside our dragon-headed lute and trumpet made from a human thigh bone!). We’ve taken it as the inspiration for our new families programme mascot, Pea the Peacock, who features in our Museum Explorer’s trail: an activity trail that leads families around the museum, requiring them to look, read and draw. We are launching our new Explorer’s Trail on Saturday 29th June, 10am to 4.30pm in St Cecilia's Hall. There will be live music and craft activities and everyone who completes the trail will be entered into a prize draw, all welcome to join.

Book tickets

You can sign up on our EventBrite page here: https://edin.ac/2wj9wVB.