Sichuan Qin Player
Unknown Chinese Artist
206 BCE - 220 CE
25 x 16 x 11.5 in. (63.5 x 40.64 x 29.21 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gift of Leo Swergold in honor of Jane Swergold, Adjunct Professor, Department of Interior Design (University College), 2011
Bellarmine Hall Galleries
This seated female figure holds a seven-stringed musical instrument called the qin, or zither. Made of lacquered wood, the qin was designed to be plucked rather than strummed. First played for entertainment, as this figure does, this instrument was later favored by scholar officials and ranked among the “four great accomplishments” of gentlemen, along with painting, calligraphy, and chess. Actual musical instruments have been excavated from Han Dynasty tombs, indicating that music played a central role in the afterlife. The inclusion of replicas of such objects in burial tombs, then, was an indication of great wealth, learning, and taste. This figure originally would have formed part of a group, the gestures and poses of which would have related subtly to one another.