T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Teaching Guqin / 儒學琴曲 Qin Melodies for Confucian Learning 首頁
Teaching with Guqin
Using a qin while teaching other subjects 1
后夔典樂圖 Illustration of Hou Kui regulating music 2    

The stud markers on a qin could make it a good medium for teaching the mathematical relationship of musical notes. The illustration at right may also be a conscious allusion to depictions of Confucius playing the qin as he teaches (see below). The teacher in the Qing dynasty illustration at right, Kui3 (or Hou Kui, i.e., Marquis Kui), is said to have been one of the "Nine Ministers of the Emperor Shun, charged with the direction of State music."4 This illustration shows Kui in what perhaps resembles a Qing dynasty court music school setting. The instruments are all labeled, while the label at the top of the students calls them "royal offspring" (zhouzi5).

                      Woodblock print of Confucius teaching6









Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. I have not yet seen a classical illustration showing qin itself being taught.

2. Illustration of Hou Kui regulating music 后夔典樂圖
The original of this illustration, a "late Qing" representation, is from 欽定書經圖說 Qinding Shu Jing Tushuo (Historical Classic, Imperial Illustrated Edition, 1905). It is here copied from Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, Vol. IV:1, Physics and Physical Technology, p. 146. It is not clear why the instrument in front of the qin is labeled as a 瑟 se even though it is narrower than the qin, with fewer strings and no movable bridges.

3. Kui 夔
Bio/2585; see Anne Birrell, Chinese Mythology: (Index) "storm god; one-legged mountain god; killed by the Yellow Emerpror; skin used as a cosmic drum; historicizing tradition makes him master of music under the sage-kings Yao and Shun"; (p. 134) "with a magical talent (his vestigial divinity) for making animals dance".

4. Giles: Kuei (Kui)

5. zhouzi 胄子
30068.2/2 胄子 says this means 國子學生也 students who are children of royalty. This must come from:
30068.2/1 胄子, which means 嫡子 dizi, eldest son of main wife, quoting a passage from 書,舜典 Record of Shun in the Shu Jing saying 帝曰﹕夔,令汝典樂,教胄子 the emperor ordered Kui to regulate music, teaching this to the eldest son.

6. From an illustrated life of Confucius.

Return to Art with Qins. or to the Guqin ToC