Featured Topic: Music & Musical Instruments

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Jiahu (ca. 7000–5700 B.C.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief discussion of the archaeological site of Jiahu, in Henan province, where fragments of 30 flutes were discovered. Six of these flutes represent the earliest examples of playable musical instruments ever found.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/jiah/hd_jiah.htm
Music and Art of China
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"China provides some of the earliest traces of music making. These are mainly in the form of well-preserved musical instruments, the tangible evidence of music. Over several millennia, musical instruments from regional indigenous traditions as well as from India and Central and West Asia were assimilated into the mainstream of Chinese music. Some of the most ancient instruments have been retained, transformed, or revived throughout the ages and many are in common use even today, testifying to a living legacy of a durable art." With 19 related artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/much/hd_much.htm
The Qin
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
An introduction to the qin, a type of zither that is "the most prestigious of China's instruments." "Chinese lore" holds that the qin dates back to the third millennium BCE.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mqin/hd_mqin.htm
Musical Instruments of the Indian Subcontinent
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief overview of musical traditions in South Asia: "The music of the Indian subcontinent is usually divided into two major traditions of classical music: Hindustani music of Northern India and Karnatak music of Southern India, although many regions of India also have their own musical traditions that are independent of these." With images of 16 instruments.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/indi/hd_indi.htm
The Pipa
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
An introduction to the Chinese pipa, a four-string plucked lute that "descends from West and Central Asian prototypes and appeared in China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534)."

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pipa/hd_pipa.htm
The Rag-dung (Cloisonné Trumpets)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief overview of the history of the Tibetan rag-dung, "long trumpets played in pairs for morning and evenings calls to prayer, preludes, and processions. ... By the Ming dynasty, the rag-dung may have been used in court rituals, as the elegantly decorated examples illustrated here attest."

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dung/hd_dung.htm
Silk and Bamboo: Music and Art of China
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online presentation of a 2009-2010 exhibition that "celebrates the musical heritage of China—one of the oldest continuously documented traditions with roots reaching back more than eight thousand years. Featuring some sixty objects and illustrations ... Silk and Bamboo: Music and Art of China reveals the dynamic interplay of cultures, the continuity of musical practice, and the diversity of China's musical traditions from the fifth century B.C. to the present." With images of 18 objects, mostly dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={1DE74803-F84B-4D79-...
Sounds of China
The Kennedy Center, ArtsEdge
An audio series that "explore[s] unique aspects of Chinese music through sounds, performance and interviews." Featuring three episodes on "the endangered music of the Yunnan peoples; the tradtional sounds of the pipa, bamboo flute, qin and other Chinese instruments; and the creative space between them, where sounds ancient and avant-garde intersect."

Go to Museum Resource: http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/multimedia/series/AudioStories/sounds-of-chi...
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