The Yue – 9,000 years old

Music in China is traditionally associated with ritual observances and government affairs.

In 1999, Chinese archeologists unearthed what is believed to be the oldest know playable instrument, a seven-holed flute fashioned 9,000 years ago from the hollow wing bone of a large bird.

To establish the age, a U.S. chemist at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory analyzed data from carbon-14 dating done in China on materials taken from the site.

The 9,000-year-old flutes were “exquisitely-crafted” from the wing bone of a red-crowned crane.

Music from the Book of Songs

In The Book of Songs, an ancient collection of Chinese poetry from the 6th century BC, the three-hole Yue is the most frequently mentioned wind instrument, but by the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD), the Yue had all but vanished.  Source: China Daily

Discover more with The Hsiao (Xiao) – Chinese Flute


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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