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( UNESCO Masterpiece: Proclamation 2003 )

Guqin, Qixian


(from left)
1)A famous qin player Mr. Guan Pinhu performing, in 1950s, Beijing.
2)A Guangling School qin player Mr. Wu Zhaoji performing, April 1994, Beijing.
(c) Music Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Arts

Qin is an important plucked instrument in the ancient Chinese culture.

Reasons for selection

Its rich heritage.

Area where performed

The intellectual stratum of the Han in every province of China.

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

Qin is a plucked instrument, also called guqin, qixianqin, and was called luqi or sitong in the ancient time. The length of the instrument is about 130 cm, width is about 20 cm, thickness is about 5 cm. Normally the surface is made by paulownia, the bottom by Catalpa ovata, and they are combined as the sound box. On the surface, it deploys seven strings, and inlays thirteen marks for the left hand to recognize the phoneme. From the top to the end in the bottom of qin has many attachments with beautiful cultural names such as yueshan, zhenchi, longchi, fengzhao, etc. The sound is made by plucking the strings with the right hand. While playing, there are three kinds of tone colours classified as the san, fan, an and numerous skills of yin, rou, chuo and zhu, etc.

Guqin has a very rich repertory with about 3000 collections of Tijie (explanations to qin music)and 600 pieces of scores. The representative pieces are Gaoshan (High Mountain), Liushui (Running Water), Xiaoxiangshuiyun (Water and Clouds Over Xiao and Xiang Rivers), Yangchun-baixue (White Snow in the Bright Early Spring), Dahujia, etc. With the long history and the wealth of accumulation, guqin has many kinds of theoretical heritages, e.g. qin theory, qin making, qin temperament, and qin school, etc.

Publication and textual documentation

Chinese Music Research Institute and Beijing Qin Association, ed.
1980 Qinqujicheng Collection of Qin Music .
Beijing: Zhong Hua Shu Ju. In Chinese.

Audio documentation

China Record Co., P.C.
1994 An Anthology of Chinese Traditional and Folk Music: Collection of Music Played on the Guqin.
8 CD, Contribution: Wang Di.

Visual documentation

already available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion


Data provider

Mr. Qiao Jiangzhong
Music Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Arts
Address: Dong zhi men wai, Xin Yuan Li West Building No.1, Beijing 100027, China