KOBYZ, Kazak musical instrument
Musical instrument with two chords and a bow, made of dark wood with silver elements, ivory inlay and animal skin.
39.5 x 11.5 cm
Date of entry at UNESCO
Country of origin Kazakhstan
Donating country Kazakhstan
Donation made to UNESCO by the Delegation of Kazakhstan
© Photo: UNESCO/P. Lagès
All rights reserved

Made out of dark wood, this Kazakh string instrument rests upon a silver-plated base and is decorated with silver-work as well as ivory inlays and stretched leather.

The kobyz is a double-stringed instrument that is played like the cello. It is carved out of the wood of a tree chosen by the shaman according to signs sent to him by the spirits. This musical instrument is an essential attribute of the baksy, which he plays in accompaniment of his songs. The baksy, or shaman, receives his strength and spirit thought family heritage; they are called upon to diagnose and cure illnesses.

These instruments may also be adorned with small bells or have a mirror placed inside the cavity, into which the baksy gazes while playing the kobyz. This instrument bears witness to the importance of music in the nomadic lifestyle of the Kazakh people.