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Song Huizong
- Qin Shi Xu #1
宋徽宗 1
琴史續 #1 2
Huizong playing qin 3
The connection of Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1126) to the qin is emphasized by the famous painting at right, now in the Palace Museum Beijing. He is variously said to have painted it, and to be the person in the center playing the qin at a table in a garden. This is also perhaps the earliest known depiction of the qin being played at a table. There have also been other paintings that associate Huizong with the qin.

Song emperor Huizong was 趙佶 Zhao Ji (1082 - 1135), the 11th son of 神宗 Shenzong (r. 1068 - 1086). Shenzong was succeeded by his sixth son 趙煦 Zhao Xu (1076 - 1101; reigned as 哲宗 Zhezong, 1083 - 1101). When Zhao Xu died without heirs, Zhao Ji became emperor. His activities are discussed in Qinshi Chubian, Chapter 6a5, particularly with regard to collecting qins; the importance of his establishing the Dasheng Fu is discussed in some detail by Rao Zongyi.

An artist himself, Huizong heavily patronized the arts and expended a lot supporting Daoism and Daoist hermits.5 He also engaged in other musical activities other than those involving the qin.6 Perhaps in part because of his passion for the arts he was unable to keep the 金 Jin from conquering northern China. In 1126 he abdicated in favor of his eldest son, but the following year the Jin captured them both, ending the Northern Song period.

Huizong was especially fond of the qin. In addition to playing, he had a music master Liu Bing do research on the various types of qin.7 His 10,000 Qin Pavilion must have had more famous qins than the one mentioned here in the biography, Spring Thunder.8 I do not know what happened to it after Qiao Da.9

The original essay in Qin Shi Xu is as follows:

Huizong, taboo name 佶 Ji, was the 11th son of 神宗 Shenzong (r. 1068 - 1086). At first he was 端王 Prince Duan. When 哲宗 Zhezong (r. 1083 - 1101) died without heirs he became emperor. He was especially fond of the qin. He searched the country for famous qins, keeping them in his 10,000 Qin Pavilion. He considered one called Spring Thunder, made by the Tang dynasty's Lei Wei to be the best. Spring Thunder was later the main qin in the collection of Jin emperor 章宗 Zhangzong (r. 1190 - 1209), who tried to have it buried with him. However, 18 years later it returned to society, 略無毫髮動, and was in the collection of Qiao Da. He also considered it the best of all qins. And so forth.

More to be added.10

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 宋徽宗 Song Huizong (r. 1101-1126)

2. Six lines; sources given in Qin Shi Xu are:

  1. 宋史 Song Shi
  2. 雲煙過眼錄 Yunyan Guoyan Lu (43170.263 [Song])

3. This painting, called Listening to the Qin (聽琴圖 Ting Qin Tu), can also be seen in various art books, for example, Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting, p.122. Its commentary says that the two listeners are high officials, including the prime minister, 蔡京 Cai Jing (1046 - 1126), who wrote the poetic inscription at the top. The original text of the inscription is:


4. The National Palace Museum also has another such painting online, also commonly attributed to Huizong himself. The qin is resting on a rock at the top of the painting. (Return)

5. References needed. (Return)

6. See for example the story of Liu Bing related below.

7. 劉昺 Liu Bing
劉昺 Liu Bing (Bio/629) was a 大司樂 Music Master in the court of Huizong. The Music Annals of the Song Dynastic History say that Huizong ordered Liu Bing to find out what different sorts of qins there were. Liu Bing found five types: one-string, three-string, five-string, seven-string and nine-string. All were in the silk-string category. (Return)

8. 萬琴堂 25455.xxx. (Return)

9. Qiao Da 喬達
Qiao Da (4114.67) was a member of the Hanlin Academy during the Yuan dynasty. (Return)

10. For another painting by Huizong see Dao Yi Qu.

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