The exhibition shows the variety of stringed instruments with a neck, on which the sound is produced by a horsehair bow drawn across the strings. The strings are made of gut or metal, nowadays also of synthetic material.
The instruments are further distinguished by the shape of the body, with a predominance of a structure of ribs, which can have very different shapes.
Put simply, the instruments of the violin family (viola da braccio) have a curved belly and back which extend out over the ribs.
The instruments of the viola da gamba family have also a curved belly, but a flat back sloping in towards the neck; both of which being glued to the ribs without overlapping.
Note the difference in the shape of the sound holes: flame, c- or f-shaped.