The fiddle
Zmijanje, 19th century

wood, leather
trimming, gouging, cutting, carving, low relief


length of the instrument = 78 cm
body width = 18,2 cm
length of the neck = 44 cm

length from the first peg to the bottom of the instrument = 56,1 cm
string length = 52 cm


Et 6451
The Collection of Musical Instruments


A single-stringed fiddle crafted from one block of wood. There is a single peg (“čivija”) on top of the neck. The unsmoothed surface of both the body and the neck (“varjača and držak”) is ornamented by burnt artwork and iron stamps (stars, curves and streaks). The top of the neck is especially richly ornamented with two human heads and six animal heads. There is a big ram head with horns in the front, a rabbit head with moustache beneath it, two human heads on the side, and other animal heads. The eyes are made by inserting glass beads. The skin is drawn taught over the body using wooden wedges and it is severely damaged.


The fiddle accompanied epic oral poems or stories about historic events, or stories about everyday situations. The ornaments and decorations on the fiddle were often tied to the stories told and retold.