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Dongxiao

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Two xiāo, one of jade and one of porcelain, on display at the Metropolitan Museum
  • Other Names: 管 (J: kan)
  • Chinese/Japanese: 洞簫 (dòngxiāo / dôshô)

The dòngxiāo is a Chinese end-blown flute, sometimes referenced in Japanese and Ryukyuan sources simply as a kan (lit. "pipe," "tube," or "flute"). It can be made of a variety of different materials, but typically has six finger holes (five on top, and one on bottom). Additional holes are sometimes present, for a tassel to be strung through, for purely decorative purposes.

Dòngxiāo were not only used in China, but were also standard elements of uzagaku (Chinese-style chamber music) ensembles in the Ryûkyûan royal court, and in Ryukyuan embassies' performances in Edo.

References

  • Okinawa bijutsu zenshû 5, 342.
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