Chinese history is rich in calligraphy, music, poetry and painting.
Legend says that the Guqin has a history of 5,000 years. Chinese writing dates it to nearly 3,000.
The body of the Guqin is a long and narrow sound box made of Catalpa wood with two holes, one large and one small. The large hole is called the” phoenix pool” and the small one the “dragon pond”.
UNESCO says the Guqin represents China’s foremost solo musical instrument tradition.
This seven-stringed instrument was played by noblemen and scholars and was not intended for public performances. Twenty years of training were often required to become proficient.
Since it is known that Confucius played the Guqin, the instrument is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as “the father of Chinese music” or “the instrument of the sages”.
For millennia, the strings of the Guqin were made of various thicknesses of silk.
However, in recent times, the silk has been replaced with nylon wound around steel strings. Some say without silk, the Guqin doesn’t sound as rich.
The Guqin was one of four subjects the ancient scholars perfected. The other three were chess, calligraphy and painting.
In fact, for centuries many Chinese felt China was so civilized due to these practices that no other country would bother them.
However, after Mao came to power and launched the Cultural Revolution, the Guqin fell out of favor as the literati were persecuted.
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