Saturday, September 6, 2008

Zhu (string instrument)

The ''zhu'' was an ancient Chinese string instrument. Although it is no longer used, three very old specimens in varying degrees of preservation survive. One with five strings, dating to approximately 433 BC, was discovered in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, in the Hubei province of central China.

It first became popular during the Warring States Period, when its most famous player was Gao Jianli, a citizen of the state of who attracted the attention and played for Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The instrument remained popular through the and dynasties, and was lost sometime during the Song Dynasty.

Little is known about the instrument but it is believed to have been a zither with a rectangular wooden boody, with silk or gut strings that were played with a slender stick. Although ancient sources state that the instrument was struck , it is possible that it was actually plucked with the stick in the manner of the Korean ''komungo''.

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