An Ancient Kauri viola based on a CT model of the 1727 "Cassavetti" by Antonio Stradivarius

The wood for the back plate, neck and scroll of this viola were perfectly preserved for roughly 50,000 years according to radio carbon dating, buried under permafrost in an anaerobic environment from the last glacier period. It is something that must be heard and held to fully appreciate. The backplate sparkles with the wood cells forming a grid with thousands of gold hexagons. The black lines in the plate appear and disappear all over the plate as it moves in the light. The effect is unique to Ancient Kauri and called "whitebait" in New Zealand, since it appears as a school of fish swimming in the water as it moves along the plate.