The oud as a luxury toy

By Rachel Beckles Willson When in 2006 Ritter Instruments made an oud in its ‘Royal’ series that sold at auction for $620,000, it pushed the so-called King of Arab instruments into new territory. The price was partly a result of its materials, but wood was not the deciding component. Rather, it was the 103-carat black…

Our oldest Nahat

By Karim Othman Hassan This Damascus-made oud is without doubt the most impressive and – to the best of our knowledge – the oldest surviving instrument made by the Nahat family. Until recently it was assumed that the brothers Rufan and Abdou Nahat (Ikhwan Nahat) founded the first Nahat carpentry workshop in 1880. It is…

Damascus to London c.1880

By Rachel Beckles Willson Some time between 1878 – when it was made – and 1894, when it was presented as a gift to the Prince of Wales in London, an oud travelled to London. It is the first one we know that has a label inside revealing the maker, the place of the workshop,…