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Musical Instruments

Chitarra battente

Key data

Giorgio Sellas, Venice, 1641

Five double course strings

front softwood, sides and back rosewood with ivory veins

inlaid with ivory, mother of pearl and ebony

sound hole with painted rosette of parchment and paper

overall length 89 cm, length of body 46 cm

Inv. 1927.271.


Giorgio Sellas, whose original name was Georg Seelos, was born in Füssen im Allgau between 1574 and 1596. Like many makers of plucked and stringed instruments of his time he emigrated to Italy, to make a livelihood in one of the centers of instrument production there. His activity in Venice is documented from 1624 to 1648. The signature and workshop mark GIORGIO SE / LLAS ALLA / STELLA IN VEN / ETIA 1641 are scratched on a mother of pearl plate on the tuning board. The five sets of two strings are like those of the Baroque guitar common at that time, but are here of metal and are plucked with a plectrum. The back of the instrument is not flat as in a guitar, but is convex and formed of splints.

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Basel Historical Museum
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Steinenberg 4
PO box
CH – 4001 Basel

Reception: +41 61 205 86 00

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