Ming Pipa

Ming Pipa

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Stringed instrument made of wood, ivory, bone and silk. Ming dynasty, late 16th-early 17th century. 94 × 25.3 × 2.9 cm

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  • Music to our ears (and eyes)

    story by Emma Burley, Yixin Xu

    This Ming dynasty pipa, made in the late 16th - early 17th century, is one of the most luxurious examples of its kind. Descending from the ovoid-shaped lutes found in Central Asia, the pipa has become a vital part of China’s musical repertoire, used in opera and storytelling ensembles as well as alone as a solo instrument. Through its history and the imagery bedecking almost the entire surface of this instrument, find out how this instrument represents centuries of trans-Asian interconnectivity in culture, trade and religion.

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