- Andrea Nixon
Plucked lute of the Mongolian Torguts and Kalmyks. The name is found in the epic Jangar, playing to accompany bielgee. The dombor used by Kalmyks nowadays and by Torguts in the past has gut frets (berne). P.S. Pallas’s Sammlungen historischer Nachrichten über die mongolischen Völkerschaften, vol.1 (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1776) describes the lute used to accompany the epic Jangar as a dommer, with wire or tendon strings, played by girls. An engraving in the text shows a two-string fretted lute with a triangular body. Two-string lutes have been associated with the Mongols since Marco Polo’s description of instruments played before battle in the 13th century. In an ensemble of the Manchu period a two-string lute, the erxian, was used. In the 17th century the Kalmyks were using a lute with ‘only three strings, like the colascione’ (A.V. Florovskij: ‘Ein tschechischer Jesuit unter den Asowschen Kalmücken’, Archiv orientální...