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Chinese Musical Instruments

Musical instruments, throughout a history that spans 7000 years, have been a very integral part of ancient and contemporary Chinese religion as well as entertainment. Excavated artifacts indicated that flutes have existed since Neolithic China. By the Han Dynasty in 206 B.C. music was already being organized and edited by an imperial-decreed music bureau.

There are four main categories of traditional Chinese musical instruments: percussion, string, wind, and plucked instruments. Percussion instruments, which in the past consisted primarily of bells and chimes, were originally reserved for the imperial members of society for religious reasons. Other percussion instruments were used to create a regular knocking sound in order to aid meditation.

The Erhu, a string instrument, is played with a bow that is dragged along vertical strings. Flutes are the most common wind instrument in China; the earliest found was made out of bone the Neolithic period. Flutes were more often made out of bamboo. The pipa, or lute, consists of a body shaped like a gourd with vertical strings, which are plucked with a musician’s fingers to make music.


Quick Facts

  • Traditional Chinese belief is that music affects the harmony of the universe. For this reason, it was historically frowned upon to produce music for entertainment’s sake
  • Confucius used and taught others to use musical instruments as a means to calm feelings of lust and passion
  • Music was not enjoyed by common Chinese people until the Tang Dynasty, 690-705 A.D.

Recommended Items at Auction

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Est: $100- $200
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Vintage Chinese Drum [139658]
Oct 29, 8:00 AM PDT
Vintage Chinese Drum [139658]
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(4pc) Ethnic Instruments, Kondi, Karignan
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
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A Cloisonne Enamel Round Chinese Qin
Nov 05, 9:00 AM EDT
A Cloisonne Enamel Round Chinese Qin
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VAJRA
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
VAJRA
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Nov 11, 10:30 AM GMT
A pair of Chinese Famille Rose 'Bells'
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Nov 04, 10:00 AM CET
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Michigan Central Railroad Front Mounted Steam Locomotive Bell #2426?
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
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Williams #BRKTNDR-02 Berkshire Tenders w/Digital Whistle and Bell Luxury Lines w/box
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
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Amlash Bell Pendant Collection
Dec 01, 10:00 AM GMT
Amlash Bell Pendant Collection
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A Chinese Fortune Bell Display
Nov 06, 2:15 PM PDT
A Chinese Fortune Bell Display
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Est: $250- $375
$1200 Bids
19th c Chinese Bronze Bell
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
19th c Chinese Bronze Bell
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
TWO CHINESE HARDSTONE FLUTES
Nov 02, 10:00 AM PDT
TWO CHINESE HARDSTONE FLUTES
by I.M. Chait Gallery
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
ENAMEL PAINTED RITUAL INSTRUMENT
Nov 13, 3:00 PM PST
ENAMEL PAINTED RITUAL INSTRUMENT
by Mega International Auction Inc.
Est: $600- $800
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TWO CHINESE BRONZE CHARIOT BELLS.
Nov 18, 11:00 AM GMT
TWO CHINESE BRONZE CHARIOT BELLS.
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Est: £1,000- £2,000
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HARDSTONE INLAID TONG WU INSTRUMENT
Nov 13, 12:00 PM PST
HARDSTONE INLAID TONG WU INSTRUMENT
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Est: $1,500- $3,500
$2000 Bids
CHINESE BRONZE STANDING FIGURE & BELL
Nov 02, 10:00 AM PDT
CHINESE BRONZE STANDING FIGURE & BELL
by I.M. Chait Gallery
Est: $300- $400
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Tibetan Cased Tsingkas Pair
Dec 02, 10:00 AM GMT
Tibetan Cased Tsingkas Pair
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A Peking Glass Bell
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Peking Glass Bell
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $175- $1,750
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A Chinese Enamel on Metal Bell
Oct 31, 1:00 PM EDT
A Chinese Enamel on Metal Bell
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A CHINESE BRONZE BELL.
Nov 19, 9:00 AM GMT
A CHINESE BRONZE BELL.
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £600- £800
£6000 Bids
An Antique Chinese Leather Drum - Wood and Leather
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
An Antique Chinese Leather Drum - Wood and Leather
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $50- $500
$500 Bids
A Chinese Cloisonne Bell
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
A Chinese Cloisonne Bell
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $175- $1,750
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Sellers Who Sell Chinese Musical Instruments


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

I.M. Chait Gallery

I.M. Chait Gallery

Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

TimeLine Auctions

TimeLine Auctions