Traditional musical instruments of ancient China

Sichuan Museum

The guqin is one of the earliest stringed instruments in China, and is a treasure of the Chinese culture. Its clear, elegant, light and harmonic musical character embodies the style, pride and mentality of the ancient Chinese 'literati'.

Yin Feng Baina Qin, Unknown, 907/979, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

A zheng or guzheng (ancient zheng).

Also known as a Chinese zither, this ancient plucked string instrument originated around 200 BCE, during China's Han dynasty.

Yin Feng Baina Qin, Unknown, 907/979, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

This brown, unlacquered Fuxi-style zheng is made from tongmu wood (Paulownia) and bamboo, and is inlaid with thirteen round shells.

Yin Feng Baina Qin, Unknown, 907/979, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

Its has seven strings and would be used with picks made from teeth and bones.

The end is engraved with the characters "Yin Feng", and the left side is engraved with the inscriptions "Tiexia".

Shi Jian Qiao Bing(to pound ice by a stream flowing out of rocks) Qin, Unknown, 618/907, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

This is a Shennong-style zheng, named after the Patron of Agriculture. It is covered with snake skin and circular plum blossom vein decoration, and inlaid with thirteen round shells.

The bowed top has seven strings.

Shi Jian Qiao Bing(to pound ice by a stream flowing out of rocks) Qin, Unknown, 619/907, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

Underneath, there are two sound grooves, and the characters Shi, Jian, Qiao, Bing.

The central groove, Longchi (dragon pool), is engraved with the characters Yu and Quan. The smaller groove is called Fengzhao (phoenix pool). The dragon and phoenix represent the sky, the Earth and the universe.

Zuiyu Seven-Stringed Qin, 960/1279, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

This one is made of tung meal and the bottom is catalpa, zhongni style, antler gray.

The body is painted with chestnut shell color, large yellow stripes and broken water lines.

The white jade thirteen emblem, Yue mountain, Chenglu, Longying and coke tail are inlaid with white jade.

The Longchi is engraved with the characters :"Yongxi Jiashengchun zhengyue renri made."

The back of the department in the middle of the line "Zuiyu"two words and the inscription on the right side of the script "song yongxi yaqi".

Its left side carved regular script "Xueqin xian collection."

“Taiguxisheng”Seven-Stringed Qin of Qing Dynasty, Unknown, 1368/1644, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

This instrument's surface is coated in tung meal and the bottom with catalpa, in the "zhongni" style.

The tail of the instrument is gray, the body is black and has broken water lines.

The focal tail is rosewood.

"Song Yu" Seven-String Qin, Unknown, 960/1279, From the collection of: Sichuan Museum

A Zhongni-style qin with a black-brown body.

The bowed top part is made of tung wood and has seven strings, and the Zhen feet are made of wood.

The underside of the head is engraved with seal characters Song and Yu.

The right inner side of the waist of Longchi is has an inscription, "made in the 1st year of the Jingkang Period."

The right-hand side has another inscription, "repaired in Songxianguan".

In the 1950s, Professor Zha Fuxi, an expert of guqin of the Classical Music Research Institute of China, identified this as a qin from the Song Dynasty.

Credits: Story

Sichuan Museum

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