Vihuela (de mano). Manuscript illustration (1477) in Alfonso de la Torre, Visión deleitable (1454)

(1477) - Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
instrument: vihuela | century: 15cent/3/late | catalogue nº: 15-361

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Creator anon

Medium Artwork: MS illumination


City | Region | Old kingdom

Body Waisted Strings 4 strings Neck Medium Pegbox Sickle
Bridge Fixed Frets No Back Flat Pegs Lateral
Technique None

An illustration in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fonds Esp.39, fol.14v. (colophon dated18 November 1477). The allegorical figure of Music holds a vihuela in an illustration of the Seven Liberal Arts. The work is believed to have been written in 1454 for Charles of Viana, half-brother of Ferdinand of Aragon. On fol.15r the text refers to ‘vnos organos manuales’.I am very grateful to Jane Whetnall for drawing this image to my attention.

This vihuela is remarkably developed and modern for its time. It is waisted with rather unusual flattening of the curve on the treble side. The body appears as if it would have a flat back. A flat bridge is glued to the soundboard and the bridge is located centrally, just above the waist. The neck is long (joins at about the 12th fret) with a fingerboard that terminates in a sickle pegbox with three pegs visible on the treble side. The end seems to be decorated with a carved animal head. The illustration shows four strings.