Balalaika, wood / tortoiseshell / mother of pearl / metal, Russia, 1845-1855
Three course, six stringed instrument with triangular body, long neck and carved headstock. Soundboard of wood and made in five sections to give triangular shape. Seven (7) strips of wood at back to create sound chamber, and piece at bottom for reinforcement. Carved horse head on each side of headstock, inlay of house on soundboard around small square sound hole. Tortoiseshell inlay on lower right hand corner of soundboard and upper side of soundboard [possibly acting as scratch plate]. House inlay of different types/colours of wood. Back of body curved - shallow bowl shape inlay around edge of different types of wood. Bottom/ end piece of wood has metal tail piece attached for anchoring strings. Small wooden moveable bridge. Hardwood neck, dark brown with three mother of pearl fret dots, fingerboard ends as body starts and has 16 frets. Wooden nut. Headstock attached to neck with two horse heads, one protruding from each side, at top six (6) tuning machines, three (3) each side with round tuning knobs.