the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

Europe decorative arts

ape players iconography






Apes and monkeys, (there was no distinction between the two), were depicted playing the pipe and tabor from the earliest images onwards. These, and imaginative hybrid animals (also known as grotesques), were gentle satires depicting monkeys 'aping' many traits in human nature, the good and not-so-good.

11th century11th century stone carving, horn and tabor Cambodia 13th/14th century13th/14th century Flemish manuscript f150r 13th/14th century13th/14th century Flemish manuscript 131r      
c 1300
1310c.1310 wood carving
Cologne Cathedral, Germany

1320's1320's France, Book of Hours
1330-401330 to 1340 manuscript, Paris, France 239r 13401340 manuscript Bible, Naples, Italy 152r 1338-44 manuscript Flanders, Belgium 20v      
medieval unknownmedieval unknown          
14th century Holdenby, Northamptonshire, England, broken pipe, 14th century 1425-50 enamelled glass goblet, Belgium 15th century15th century misericord, Germany      
mid 15thc manuscript, England
14701470 manuscript Bruges, Belgium
1470-90 print Italy 1475-15001475-1500 Paris, France c1480 manuscript France      
medieval possiblepossible medieval player
unknownunknown manuscript      
15th century1480 misericord, wood carving, Andorra
"Flutet with holes distributed over the body of the instrument. The tabor is held by a rope tied around the animal's left wrist, allowing it to have its right hand free to play with the wand.”
unknown1498 reproduced in The ‘Biographical Decameron; or, Ten days pleasant discourse upon illuminated manuscripts, and subjects connected with early engraving, typography, and bibliography’
by Dibdin, Thomas Frognall, 1817
date unknown1498 (whole panel) Chambéry, France
1509 manuscript
1520-30 manuscript, England
unknown16th century manuscript      
16th century16th century Bramall Hall, Greater Manchester,wall painting

1531-48, carved wood, Belgium

1610 print
16161616 print, Bavaria, Germany
© Ashmolean Museum
1737 painting on wood, France
17301730 satire England
1771 satirical print, England
18th century18th century France
17421742 original drawing France
17601760 marquetry table France
1960's1960's copy on canvas
  18th century18th century painting      
18801880 painted glass panel, England        
18th century
ape player
18th century copyFrance
20232023 wall painting by Pascal Amblard, France


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