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Sichuan Qin Player

Artist: Unknown Chinese Artist Primary
Date: 206 BCE - 220 CE
3rd century BCE
Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 11.5 in. (63.5 x 40.64 x 29.21 cm)
Dimensions Extent: includes instrument
Object Type: Ceremonial Object
Creation Place: Asia, China
Medium and Support: Earthenware
Credit Line: Gift of Leo Swergold in honor of Jane Swergold, Adjunct Professor, Department of Interior Design (University College), 2011
Accession Number: 2011.01.01
On View: 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.

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