Hamburger Cithrinchen

Cithrinchen by Joachim Tielke, Hamburg, Germany 1688.
Courtesy of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

An Arabian lute? No. This is a “cithrinchen,” a bell cittern made by Joachim Tielke, an instrument maker from Hamburg who was a greatly skilled artist. As with the turtle, or the kimono, the distinctive thing about the “cithrinchen” is its back: precious ivory inlays combine to form a depiction of Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the hunt. One example of Joachim Tielke’s artistry can be seen in its effortless combination of figurative depiction and abstract ornamentation (like the tattoos on a sailor or a football player, the arabesque wraps around the body of the instrument).