T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Sun Yuqin     Sun Yuqin on qin making   首頁
Ye Shih-Ch'iang
or: Ye Shiqiang1
Guqin: by Ye Shiqiang, 1974  

My first guqin, shown at right, was made by Ye Shiqiang, who had been taught qin making by Sun Yuqin. As with the other instruments then made by Mr. Ye, it is in the style of the Tang dynasty qin pictured in R.H. van Gulik's Lore of the Chinese Lute (see the color plate facing page 192).

The name of the qin, inscribed on the back, is 焚餘 Fen Yu, Survived the Fire. In 1975 the instrument was damaged in a fire in my apartment building. Dark spots on the inside of the sound box still show the effects of the fire. The relacquering also led to a greater variety of colors on the top. The lacquer, however, was not quite smooth enough, so that when the fingers slid across them there was too much sliding sound. Several years later I had violin maker Ute Zahn2 rub the top smooth with a cloth normally used for smoothing and shining the varnish on violins. In addition to reducing the sliding noises this also made the appearance of the colors even richer.

After the repairs were finished Mr. Sun said the sound was much improved, and so he gave the qin its name and carved the name on the back.3

In 1975 Jim Binkley and I visited Mr. Ye at his home and workshop in a village south of Taipei. Jim here began his own practical study of qin making, as recounted on his own website (see especially the Notes on The Translation at the bottom of his Introduction to the Yu-ku-chai-ch’in-p’u).

Footnotes (Numbers refer to entries in Zhongwen Dacidian)

1. Yeh Shih-Ch'iang (葉世強; 1926- ; Ye Shiqiang is the mainland Romanization of his name)
There is a brief account of Mr. Sun teaching Mr. Ye on another page. Mr. Ye is also a noted painter and calligrapher. Online articles about him include those at #1 and #2.

2. Ute Zahn
Ute was then a neighbor on Cheung Chau island, Hong Kong. She did such a wonderful job on the Ye Shiqiang qin that I then asked her to do similar work on several qins by He Mingwei; they had a wonderful sound but a somewhat coarse top surface. After she rubbed the tops smooth the extraneous sounds were one again considerably reduced. Ute is currently making violins in Minneapolis (website).

3. For a related story see the Scorched Tail Qin.

Return to qin biographies, my performances, my repertoire, or the Guqin ToC