PLAYING THE QIN: IMAGING SOUND IN CHINESE PAINTING Jackie Menzies – TAASA Review June 2023

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This article was originally found in the June 2023 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 32, Issue 2, Page 4).

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A mongst Chinese musical instruments, the most prestigious has long been the seven-stringed qin (in English lute or zither).

The favoured instrument of Chinese scholars, the qin (or guqin ‘ancient lute’) has been extolled for centuries in Chinese poetry and painting.

Its rich historical, literary and musical associations have been extensively documented in Robert van Gulik’s still relevant The Lore of the Chinese Lute: An Essay in Ch’in [Qin] Ideology, first published in 1940. Illustrated is a fine example of a Chinese qin of the Ming dynasty with seven twisted silk strings of varying thickness stretched along the top of a hollow, shallow, rectangular wooden box, the curved upper board of wutong wood symbolising heaven, the bottom board of zi wood symbolising earth...