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Art Illustrating Guqin Melodies   /   Closeup of Xi Kang playing Guangling San 首頁
Xi Kang Illustrations 嵇康圖

At right:
Xi Kang plays
Guangling San at the execution ground
By Bai Yunli 1

Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove (Expand)
Xi Kang plays qin; Ruan Xian has ruan; Ruan Ji lies drunk
By Liu Jian 2

At bottom:
Xi Kang plays qin (backwards!)
From clay brick rubbing of the
Seven Sages at a tomb in Nanjing 3

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Xi Kang plays Guangling San at the execution ground; by Bai Yunli (2002)
The inscription says, 譙君嵇康將刑,顧視日影,索琴彈之,畢曰﹕『廣陵散於今絕矣』。𡈼午雲立為世璋先生製。
The first part is extracted from the SQMP Preface; after this it says, "In 2002 (Bai) Yunli made this for Mr. (Tang) Shizhang"

2. Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, by Liu Jian (1999)
The painting shows Xi Kang playing the qin and Ruan Xian carrying his ruan; Ruan Ji is probably the one in front.
The inscription says, 竹林七賢圖(seal)己卯年巧月劉健畫於吳山(seal)
In the seal 健 Jian looks like 侓 Lu. Liu Jian, a well-known painter, was at the time 中國美術學院教授、副院長 a professor and vice principal at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.

3. Xi Kang plays qin (ancient rubbing) Above image reversed                
This rubbing, part of the complete set shown with the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, seems to show Xi Kang playing left handed on a specifically left-handed qin. Quite likely, though, in the process of making the rubbing the image became reversed (before the characters were added). Thus, examination of the re-reversed image at right shows (with some leeway) potentially a more accurate depiction of the qin being played on the ground. (Compare another reversed image.)

However, a closer examination of this reversed image raises interesting questions about to what extent these images can show how the qin might then have been played by someone seated on the ground. Did the artist really have an accurate understanding of this.

Personally, I can quite comfortably sit on a flat surface with the right knee bent on the ground, as shown, and with the left knee raised somewhat, also as shown; but then I play while resting the lower end of the qin on something like a book. In addition, from the depicted position I can keep my heel on the ground pretty much where it is shown here, then lift my toes so that they support the qin. Playing the qin in this manner allows the sound to resonate nicely off the floor under the qin. Although my left foot becomes tired rather quickly, with practice presumably this position could be maintained for extended periods. It can be seen that the left hand is somewhat constricted by the left knee, but this position can easily be adjusted so that the knee is not in the way.

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