Chinese Culture Seminar on the Making of Guqin

 Around 4 pm, 21st of April, a seminar on the making of Guqin was held at the International Study Center in Qiuzhen Building, UIBE. Mr. Wang Shi, a master of this Intangible Cultural Heritage showed students the technics of making Guqin. In the previous performance on the International Cultural Festival, Mr. Wang Shi fascinated the audience with a Guqin masterpiece, Shen Ren Chang (Harmony between Man and God). The audience followed Mr. Wang to Qiuzhen building afterwards for more artistic details of the making of Guqin, how to select proper materials and how to play this instrument with long history.

Mr. Wang’s study on Guqin is not limited to playing skills or the making of one. He believes Guqin is so much more than just an elegant hobby. It is an important instrument for Chinese ancient scholars to cultivate their mind. He further explains that the principle of Dao is within the ultimate nature of everything in the world however different they may look. Chinese people tend to observe the coordination and balance between things and have established a special aesthetic view that is different from the western one. Hence the Dao implied in the instrument appears to be more significant and is hoped to help better cultivate the mind and strike a balance between mind and body. Therefore, the technics of making a Guqin is the experience drawn from practice over hundreds of years and is now the essence of culture. Wang Shi regards Guqin as a person. “What’s the most essential need of a person? To breathe. You breathe to stay alive. And the ultimate function of Guqin is to help straighten out your breath. Thus Guqin has become the representative of traditional Chinese musical instrument.” Mr. Wang said.

As our society became increasingly marketized and industrialized, we seem to have forgotten the root of our culture and people’s understanding of Guqin became superficial, focusing too much on the appearance particulars and we have also lost our tradition of manufacturing technics of Guqin. There are more Guqin of shoddy quality in the market, which angered Mr. Wang a lot and thus inspiring his aspiration to pursue the genuine craftsmanship of Guqin.

To make satisfactory Guqin, Mr. Wang drives to Fujian province for lacquering with the wood body of Guqin he made in Beijing every spring and autumn. That’s twice each year. He usually spends two months on the road since the timing should be carefully handled to avoid the wood body from getting hurt due to sudden changes of moisture. The major lacquer he used for Guqin is only sold at lacquer farmers’ home in Guizhou province and he drives as far to ensure the authenticity of materials. His Guqin is dearly priced, but is still in a short supply.

  Mr. Wang plans to write some books on Guqin. “I will write some books of the experience, skills and technics I have learnt and pursued in the making of Guqin in a hope that more people would get to know and love Guqin”, Mr. Wang said.


  ISU of SIE and Liaison Department of International Students jointly organize this seminar.

School of International Education,University of International Business and Economics

Admissions Office, Huibin Building, No.10, Huixin Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing,100029, China

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