Pair of Chinese Bamboo Vertical Flutes ‘Xiao’ each Inscribed in Their Original Box Inscribed ‘Made by Zhang Lunshan of Yuping Guizhou’
A Scholar’s Object
Early Republic / Circa 1912 - 1920
case: 4cm x 4.5cm x 65cm long - 1½ ins x 1¾ ins x 25½ ins long
Ex Private Hong Kong collection
Ex Hugh Moss 1994
Ex Finch and Co, catalogue item no. 17, catalogue no. 30, 2018
Ex Oliver Hoare Ltd.
Ex Private collection
The Chinese province of Guizhou is famous for its excellent bamboo flutes which are a symbol of the Chinese scholar. Its sound was sacred and was traditionally said to be carried by one of the eight immortals called Han Xiangzi. Each flute is inscribed with a poem extolling the inspiring sound that it produces and of the beauty of the ‘Jade Lady’ who plays it:
‘Under the bright moonlight
to which family does this Jade Lady belong ?
playing a song under a quarter moon
the lofty thoughts of a scholar may match those of Sima Qian
the ancient flying tunes of a thousand years past
come alive in this Zhaoji studio’
Sima Qian was an ancient historian of the early Han dynasty (died 86 BC) and regarded as a paragon of scholarly virtues.
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