The heart of sound

Iconography as well as ancient writings attests to a small mechanism, made of vegetable fibre and placed perpendicularly between the string and the contact surface that would be slid under the string to the desired spot to obtain a specific timbre.
This process, named jiva (from the Sanskrit word jivan, which literally means he who bequeaths life) is still used on the bridges of tanpura, the "drone" instruments that are an indispensable accompaniment to vocal and instrumental music. A 12th century writer specified that the jiva was the place where the goddess Sarasvati dwelled.