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Jantar  

Philippe Bruguière and Genevieve Dournon

(Sanskrit yantra, Hindi jantar)

(1) Sanskrit word yantra means ‘any instrument or apparatus’. The musical term jantra appears in the 15th-century Kallināth’s commentary of Sangītaratnākara as the popular name of the tritantrī vīnā, a vīnā mentioned two centuries earlier by Sarngadeva and likely to belong to the tube zither family. The yantra is primarily mentioned and briefly described before the bīn among the stringed instruments listed in the Ā’n-i Akbarī of Abu’l-Fazl ‘Allami (1595–96). Made of a ‘hollow neck of wood a yard in length, at the end of which are attached the halves of two gourds’, the jantar had five metal strings while the bīn had three. Also quoted in the Kulliyāt-i-Tughrā written under the reign of Jahangir (1605–27) and in the Rāg Darpan (1665–6), it was once an important fretted tube zither in Mughal India. The jantar was not only appreciated in the Northern Mughal courts but also in Central India Deccani sultanates: it is recorded in Zuhurī’s ...