National TreasureElegant Orchid in the Stone Tablet Mode,

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  • 碣石調幽蘭第五
  • 1 scroll
  • Ink on paper
  • L27.4, total W423.1
  • Tang dynasty/7-8th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TB-1393

Jieshidiao Youlan (J. Kessekichô Yûran) is an abridged copy of Score for the Seven-string Zither (Ch. Qinpu, J. Kinpu), attributed to Qiugong, a famous zither player who lived at the end of the Liang era (502-557) of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (c. 317-c. 589), China. Qiugong, who went by the name of Ming, was originally from Huiji (Zhejiang Province). Little about him is known. He is said to have been skilled at the chudiao tuning style and was particularly praised for his performance of the zither piece "Elegant Orchid" (Ch. Youlan). Quigong died in the tenth year of the first Sui emperor (590), at the age of ninety-seven.

This work explains in text the finger movements necessary to perform "Elegant Orchid." The titles of fifty-nine pieces appear at the end. They range from "Chu Tune" (Ch. Chudiao), "Tune Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold" (Ch. Qianjindiao), and "Reed Pipe" (Ch. Hujia), to "Lament for a Chu Princess"(Ch. Chufeitan). The calligraphy is copied in vigorous, early-Tang square style with twenty characters per line. It appears that text added to the beginning of the scroll was also written during the Tang dynasty (618-c. 907).

This text was included in the Record of Sages and Ancient History (J. Keiseki hôko shi) by late Meiji-period (1868-1912) physician Mori Risshi, and in the Qing-dynasty (c. 1644-1912) Library of Old Classics (Ch. Guyi congshu) by Li Shuchang. The original is from the collection of Jinkô-in Temple in Nishigamo, Kyoto.