Posts tagged Historic
The Oldest Known Zheng

One of the oldest depictions of a Zheng-like instrument, created from remnants found in a tomb in  Changqiao,Wu Xian, Jiangsu Province. The tomb was dated to the fifth century BCE. It had twelve strings, was made of wood, and was coated in lacquer. It's 132.8 cm or ~52 inches long.

Source: Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. The Smithsonian Institute further attributes the image to Huang Xiangpeng 1996, Zhongguo yinyue wenwu daxi, volume on Jiangsu/Shanghai: 248-51, Zhengzhou: Daxiang Press.

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19th Century 16-String Zheng

From the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, USA comes this wonderful image.

Purchased in 1916 and believed produced in the 1800s in Guangzhou, China, this guzheng is constructed in the Song Dynasty style. It has 16 strings and 16 tie-off pegs on the far right. But only 15 triangular bridges are visible. Why? Because the 1st bridge is actually on the far side of the instrument, pushing the string almost perpendicular to the soundboard. This instrument is so close to a  Vietnamese Dan Tranh it would be so easily confused, but the museum and the Chinese Characters on the tail of the instrument say otherwise.

Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA 

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19th Century 14-String Zheng

From the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels, Belgium we have this  Carmentis record of a 14-stringed zither made sometime before 1900, coming in at 141.2cm or ~55 inches in length. 

I don't know enough to date the instrument, but its style dates from before the modern changes and seems to be closer to the Tang Dynasty style,  though it's proportionally closer to the Japanese koto. An earlier black and white photo shows this particular instrument before its strings broke, at which time it had 14 visible bridges.

Source: Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium

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