Oud player, Jerusalem, c.18591859 عازف العود، القدس
  • Oud player

Oud player, Jerusalem, c.1859   [59 x 56 cm]

Source of image: William McClure Thomson's "The Land and the Book" 1860 page 578
Embroidery: Jan Chalmers

This image of an oud player is based on a woodcut published by William McClure Thomson in 1860 (The Land and the Book: Or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery, of the Holy Land. Vol II, p. 578).

Instruments of the lute family were known to have existed in Mesopotamia at least as long ago as 3000 BCE. A short almond-shaped lute developed in the Sasanian Empire (224–651) came to be called the barbat or barbud, and this instrument was developed later into the Islamic world’s oud or ud. When the Moors conquered Andalusia in 711, they brought their oud into a country that had already known a lute tradition under the Romans.

During the 8th and 9th centuries, many musicians from across the Islamic world flocked to Iberia. By the 11th century, Muslim Iberia had become a centre for the manufacture of instruments. These goods spread gradually to Provence, influencing French troubadours, and eventually reached the rest of Europe. While Europe developed the lute, the oud remained a feature of Arab and Ottoman music.

Era: Ottoman Period (1516—1917)

Further reading