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before 1578, Manufacturer: anonym




In Archduke Ferdinand II’s Kunst- und Wunderkammer (chamber of arts and curiosities) in Ambras Castle, alongside conventional instruments there are some for which no comparable equivalents can be found anywhere in the world. To this group belongs a set of double-reed instruments with bodies shaped like animals. The Ambras inventory of 1596 describes the instruments as follows: “In one case 5 tardöld, shaped like dragons”. The origin of the term tardöld or tartölt is uncertain. Perhaps it is a dialect form of the word cortholt (kurzholz = short wood), a collective term for wind instruments with a curved or folded bore. Sound is produced by means of a double reed fixed to an air-pipe shaped into a figure 8. The tube of the instrument is made of metal and is twisted into a helix. The tube is integrated into a model of a dragon’s body. (rh)

Lit.: Rudolf Hopfner: Masterpieces from the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. A Short Guide through the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Vol. 1, Vienna 2019

Currently not displayed.

Object data

Object Name





before 1578



Corpus composed of two soldered metal halves, polychrome mounted, partially gold-plated

Dimensions Cover size is a museum or exhibition-specific information. It does not specify the real dimensions of the musical instrument.

L. 370 mm, B. 40 mm, H. 40 mm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente

Inv. No.

Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, 208

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