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Exploring Ancient Chinese Musical Instruments with Scienticfic Tools

Qin playing is the first of the four arts of literati in ancient China: qinqi, shu, and hua ("琴棋书画").  It is a musical instrument with a long historical standing in China.  While researchers have been using scientific methods and tools to explore the structures of early western musical instruments and their relationship to the sound produced, similar research publications based on ancient Chinese musical instruments are limited.  Research project from this perspective on qin is even rare.  

 

With the Fuxi-style qin from the Rulan Chao Pian Collection, this project attempts to investigate its structure using scientific tools.  In addition to the endoscopy and the CT scanning, the use of OsiriX exposed some historical sketches concealed in this qin.  Although the unveiled stories require further verification, they trace how the maker and the repairer(s) of this qin would have intended to shape it. 

 

The uncovering of some secrets promotes research questions on this qin in different directions.  Who inscribed the texts and characters, the qin maker or the repair(s)?  Who made the three holes but hid two of them with coins?  Why were these, except the remaining hole, hidden up by lacquer?  How did the history and the culture of the society that the qin travelled through influenced the persons associated with it to make these stories covered?  With the scientific tools, new research directions arise.