- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota museum that owns the earliest known cello has lent the unique piece to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Amati “King” cello, which dates back to the mid-16th century, is on special loan from the National Music Museum in Vermillion.

National Music Museum director Cleveland Johnson says the “King” is one of the museum’s crown jewels and describes it as “the Mona Lisa of Italian stringed instruments.”

It is decorated with royal emblems and mottoes of King Charles IX of France. It is one of a set of 38 stringed instruments commissioned by the Valois royal court.

The cello will be on display at the Met through Sept. 8.

The “King” last left Vermillion in 2007, when it was temporarily displayed in Italy.

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