National TreasureSeven-Stringed Zither

Save Image

image 全画面表示
  • 黒漆七弦琴
  • 1 piece
  • Lacquered wood
  • 25.4x40.5x23.3
  • Tang dynasty/Kaigen(Kaiyuan) 12(724)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-102

This seven-stringed zither (Ch. qin; J. kin) was imported from China during the Nara period (710-794). The hollow body is made of paulownia wood to which layers of black lacquer have been applied. Unlike the thirteen-stringed Japanese koto, the qin does not have movable bridges for each string. The strings are stopped by the fingers of the left hand and plucked by the fingers of the right. Thirteen circular markers, here of mother-of-pearl, are inlaid into the outer edge of the upper surface to help the left hand find its place. There are two elliptical sound-holes in the body, and rosewood (J. shitan) fittings at either end. An ink inscription inside the body indicates that the instrument was made in China in 724 during the reign of the Emperor Xuanzong (685-762). The place of manufacture is given as Jiulong County, near Chengdu in Sichuan Province. This is the oldest known qin with a recorded date and place of manufacture.