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This Gusle, a musical instrument, and the national stringed instrument of Montenegro, a wooden violin was hand carved and purchased in the former YugoslaviaIn in 1970. My family was taken on a road trip to Italy in compensation for work done for a manufacturing company in Modena. They gave us a car, and we took off for a month. WOW! That was one of the most memorable trips in my life. Not only did we drive all over Italy but managed to visit some super wealthy friends with a gigantic villa right on the Mediterranean, in the Cote d'Azur (until then I had never had servants serving me- but now can relate to Downton Abbey).

We also went to the the former Yugoslavia! OK what a beautiful country*. If you have never thought about going. Stop. And think about it now. Well no, first think about buying this souvenir Gusle from Bled first. THEN about traveling.

So back to this item: It plays, with all tuning pegs functioning, and is very beautifully carved. But it was sold as a souvenir and therefore is somewhat smaller than the usual Gusle I think.

It measures 21 inches long by 6 inches wide at the widest point on the rounded base, and 2.5 inches deep. there is one horsehair string running from the top tuning peg placed behind a fine carved head. The bow, "gudalo" (fiddlestick), has similar strings.

In carving a Gusle, special attention is given to the head, so on a Montenegrin gusle, one can find a large number of wonderful carved shapes - most often it is a double-headed eagle, like the one from the state heraldry, or the shape of the mountain, Lovcen, or the characters from the Montenegrin history, such as Petar II Petrovic Njegos.

In this case it is locally occuring mountain goat or antelope, called a Chamoix.

It is in perfect condition, except for two places where the skin has dried up and has parted with the sides of the bowl of the instrument.. easily fixable and can be viewed in the close up photo.

And more information than you really wanted:
*Slovenia which borders the Fruili region of Italy shares the Julian Alps.. AND has some of the most beautiful scenery I ever laid eyes on. From Lubljana, the capital, it is a short drive to the Bohinj and Bled regions, where this souvenir Gusle was purchased. Imagine my surprise in finding out that it is the national stringed instrument of Montenegro, Serbia, and Croatia, and NOT Slovenia. But it was 1970 and Yugoslavia was one country. so Tito was not worried about cross border souvenir trade at that time. The gusle, traditionally has been used by the GUSLAR men, who were not really singing but more storytelling the history, the legends, the news, the comments … unfortunately there are only few of them left.

Gusle, musical instrument, national stringed instrument of Montenegro, Croatian hand carved violin from the former Yugoslavia

Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1960s
  • Materials: hand carved wood, animal skin, horse hair, carved wood
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 12 reviews
  • Favorited by: 70 people