Rāvaṇahasta [rāvaṇa, rāvaṇasta, rāvaṇahastaka, rāvaṇahatthhaya, rāvaṇhatthā, rāvaṇhattho]
- Joep Bor
Musical bow and/or spike fiddle, believed to be India’s oldest bowed instrument. The rāvaṇahasta (‘Ravana’s hand’) is frequently mentioned in medieval texts. Called ‘ravanastron’ in European travel and music literature, it played a crucial role in speculations about the origin of the fiddle bow.
According to an ancient legend, Ravana—the mythological king of Lanka—tore out one or more sinews from his arm or hand which he used as strings for the chordophone (...