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Zhuoqin – The Art of Making Guqin

Zhuoqin – The Art of Making Guqin

Date & Time: 2016/7/23 (Saturday) 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong Central Library (Lecture Theatre, G/F)
Speaker: Members of the Choi Chang Sau Qin Making Society
Organiser: Jointly presented by the Hong Kong Public Libraries and the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust
Remarks: Conducted in Cantonese. Free admission. First come, first served.
Enquiry: 2921 0285

The Qin, also known as the Guqin, ranks first among the Four Arts of the Chinese Literati, before Qi (the game of Go), Shu (Calligraphy) and Hua (Painting). Though primarily a musical art, the Qin’s aesthetic ideal transcends its musical form to encompass all aspects of its practitioner’s consciousness, and Confucians fervently regard the Qin as an indispensable tool for cultivating the human mind. Finely crafted Qins are cherished not only for their musical timbre, but also as uniquely sculpted works of art for displaying in scholarly settings. The art of making Qins, called Zhuoqin, evolved into an art form of the Chinese Literati in itself, and has remained virtually unchanged since the Jin Dynasty (AD 256-420) through today.

In China during the twentieth century, Qin music experienced the impact of western music ideologies, and was driven to near-extinction during the Cultural Revolution. For the young generation of the late twentieth century, the word “Qin” colloquially stands for the Piano, and the Piano became the “Qin” atop the Four Arts of Qin-Qi-Shu-Hua for the masses. However, just when China was beginning to forget her Qin, scholars in the West took notice of the profound depth of its art. In 1977, Carl Sagan selected Bo Ya's Qin composition “Liu Shui” to accompany Bach and Beethoven’s music aboard the Voyager spacecrafts to outer space, representing the great achievements of humanity. In 2003, UNESCO enlisted China's art of Qin as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

During the second half of the twentieth century, Hong Kong took on a vital role as an academic centre for the transmission of the art of Qin and the art of Zhuoqin. At a time when the Qin experienced its coldest winter in the Mainland, a line of the Zhejiang School's Zhuoqin art survived and flourished in Hong Kong, maintaining an unbroken line to the history of Zhuoqin. Over the course of sixty years, Hong Kong’s Zhuoqin practitioners grew from one to over fifty, and Hong Kong spearheaded the revival of the art of Zhuoqin in postwar China. In 2014, Hong Kong’s Zhuoqin tradition was enlisted onto the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China under the category of Guqin Art.

The talk will introduce the aesthetics of the Qin, and explore the history, technique and conservation of the art of Zhuoqin in Hong Kong.