Lo Ka-Ping  
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Lo Ka-ping
or: Lu Jiabing (1896-1980)1
Lo Ka-Ping at home 2 

Lok Ka-ping's family was from Zhongshan in Guangdong but he was born in Guangzhou and in 1906 graduated from Lingnan College there (this was before it moved to Hong Kong). He then went into teaching (including English language, using the English name Philip Lo), working in various places, including Singapore and Macau. During WWII he was either in Macau or Hong Kong, teaching at government schools. His permanent residence in Hong Kong apparently begin after 1945, when he took up teaching positions in the New Territories in and around Yuen Long. He also worked in school administration, then in 1964 started his own school. Although he retired from government work in 1969 he still continued doing some teaching.

Lok Ka-ping began at the age of 16 to study qin from his father, then later in Guangzhou also studied with 容心信 Rong Xinyan. Rong is said to be from the Beijing school of his father Qing Rui, but perhaps he was more influenced by study with Qing Rui's 側室 concubine, 林芝仙 Lin Zhixian, who inherited the Lingnan style. If this is correct, then her style was also a great influence on the successors of Rong Xinyan, such as his son Yong Sze-chak and grandson Yong Hak-chi (Hammond Yong, now actively teaching in Hong Kong).

In the late 1920s Lo Ka-ping taught this Lingnan style to Yang Xinlun, who was then visiting relatives in Guangzhou. He apparently also taught 祁偉奧 Dale Craig, author of this article.

Lo Ka-ping also was seriously into Daoist studies and practice. This can be seen from his writing and recordings. When I met him in 1976/7 he said he was just finishing his translation of the Yi Jing into English.

In addition to playing traditional qin melodies Lo Ka-Ping also created new ones. (Most of?) these were published in his 春雨草堂琴譜 Chun Yu Caotang Qinpu, an edition of which was published here in Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu.3 Some of his compositions are included amongst his other recordings, here and here.

Lok Ka-Ping had a large collection of antique qins, apparently most of them acquired from impoverished scholars who were coming to Hong Kong at that time. The article by Dale Craig linked here says we would occasionally sell one to someone who gave evidence of being serious about playing it. The prices for selling them then were apparently in upper hundreds of dollars.4

Perhaps this meant he was only willing to sell his later instruments. In any case, when I met him several years later I had no idea that he might sell at all. I was simply awed by the appearance and sound of what I saw and played: two each from the Tang, Song and Ming dynasties, one from the Yuan and a number more from the Qing.

My visit with Tong Kin-Woon to see Lo Ka-Ping, and the experience of playing his instruments, is recounted here. 5

Recordings of his qin playing are outlined in two places on this site. These are,

  1. Eight tracks on CD3 of Jue Xiang
  2. 10 (of 13) tracks on the CD Lost sounds of the tao

There is tablature for some of these in his handbook 春雨草堂琴譜 Chunyu Caotang Qinpu.

Footnotes (Numbers refer to entries in Zhongwen Dacidian)

1. Lo Ka-Ping (盧家炳; Lu Jiabing, 1896-1989; Lu Jiabing is the mainland Romanization of his name)
In addition to the article by Dale Craig I also looked at a detailed online account here (from here).

2. Lo Ka-Ping plays qin at his home in Hong Kong
Copied from the back cover of his World Arbiter CD Lost Sounds of the Tao.

3. 春雨草堂琴譜 Chun Yu Caotang Qinpu
It is not clear to me how complete is the edition copied here in Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu. Another edition is said to have been published around 2002, but as yet I have no further information about that.

Bi Yun Shen: 碧雲深 or 碧云深?
One of Lo Ka-ping's compositions,
recorded on the CD but missing from the handbook (unless it is in a later edition), was translated on the CD as "Murmuring in the Boudoir", without Chinese characters. In Chinese the title has been written both as 碧雲深 and as 碧云深, both pronounced "bi yun shen. If "雲" ("cloud") is correct then the title means "the jade-green clouds are deep"; the translation "murmuring..." thus suggests the translator saw "云" and interpreted it in its common usage as "speak", not aware that here "云" is used here simply as the shorthand form for "雲". "Jade-green speak deep" doesn't make much sense.

4. Lo Ka-Ping's collection of qins 15 qins once owned by Lo Ka-Ping        
Tong Kin-Woon's's Qin Fu illustrations 260-289 (shown at right, from the beginning of the last volume) show the front and back of 15 antique qin's that once belonged to Lo Ka-Ping. Dr. Tong gives further details (Chinese only) on pp.1657-1672). In addition, the last page of the linked article by Dale Craig (in Qin Fu p.1983) shows the top and bottom of five qins belonging to Lo Ka-Ping, with some details in English. Here is a link to my account of visiting Lo and playing some of these instruments.

Craig mentions that Lo bought the instruments for just hundreds of dollars and would occasionally sell one. From my understanding, he never sold the really valuable ones, and he had some very valuable ones indeed. After Lo died in 1980 these were kept for some years by family members. I don't know how many have been sold, but according to this 2014 account his Song dynasty qin named 八極引 Ba Ji Yin (shown in that article and in the upper left corner of the right hand image at right) sold that year for over US$850,000.

5. Visit to Lo Ka-Ping
It was probably early in 1977, just after I arrived in Hong Kong.

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