Fu Xi and Invention of Guqin
Fu Xi was the oldest forefather of Chinese people, nearly living in the same period of Nv Wa, then China’s history still was in the mythic period. About Fu Xi, there are several books recording his biography, but all closely associated with myth. Fu Xi was a magic leader of China. His mother was called Hua Xu, who followed the footprints of the god in Leize(a fairly old site of pre-historic China) and then gave birth to Fu Xi. It was said that Fu Xi was a man with humankind’s head and the body of snake. Fu Xi had double pupils of the eyes, which was considered as the sign of the sacred virtue of the sages. Fu Xi created Bagua(The Eight Diagrams) and invented Guqin with thirty-five strings.
Fu Xi took a delicate thinking on how to make Guqin. He found that the phoenix usually inhabits wutong tree (which later extensively translated to be Phoenix Tree), and he thought wutong was the best raw material to make Guqin. He cut the wutong into three parts, which symbolize three excellences comprised of Heaven, Earth and Human, and threw away two parts, which had the over-clear and over-deep sound after knocked. The left one with a moderate sound was kept in the water for 72 days, and then Fu Xi took it out of water and had the craftsman make it be Guqin.
The record of Fu Xi inventing Guqin was also available in Shuowen Jiezi(the first dictionary of Chinese characters edited by Xu Shen in Han Dynasty), Study of Ancient History(古史考, an academic book created by Qiao Zhou in Three Kingdoms Period) and Record of Gleaning the Lost Property(拾遗记, an interesting ancient book written by Wang Jia in West Jin Dynasty). As for Fu Xi’s biography, the most specific details are available in the Chapter of Three Lords and Five Emperors in Extension of The Record of The Grand Historian(补史记), written by Sima Zhen, the greatest historian of Tang Dynasty and probably the descendant of Sima Qian.
The Profile of Fu Xi
Emperor Yellow and Guqin: Huang Di or Emperor Yellow was another important sage that was said to be the inventor of Guqin. Actually there are many different viewpoints of the invention of Guqin. Apart from the stories of Fu Xi and Emperor Yellow, there are the stories of Shennong(Divine Farmer), Yao and Shun. Many books considered Shennong as the inventor of Guqin such as the masterpiece of Fu Yi in East Han Dynasty called Qin Fu(琴赋, Prose of Guqin) and Sima Qian’s The Record of the Grand Historian. But these viewpoints are not reliable indeed, because all the tentative inventors were all living in pre-historic period of China, so is Emperor Yellow. Emperor Yellow was a mythic figure in history of China, though officially recorded into the first official history of China-The Record of The Grand Historian. He created the musical tonality and created the famous Guiqin music masterpiece named Qing Jue(The Clarity of Jue, and Jue was one of the five basic tonalities in ancient musical theory of China)
Almighty Yao &Shun and Guqin: In the mind of the next generations, Yao together with its inheritor Shun are both the embodiment of Morality and Justice. In ancient times, many documents recorded Yao as the inventor of Guqin music. In Record of the Grand Historian, Yao was written as the inventor of five-string qin. In History of Guqin, written by Zhu Changwen(1039—1098), a famous calligraphist and musician of North Song Dynasty, Yao was also taken as the inventof Guqin. Shun was another figure said to be the inventor of Guqin, in Book of Rites, Shun was said to invent the five-string Guqin and Kui was said to create the music so as to award the regional lords. Also, according to the record of Confucianism, Shun also is the famous musician, and described as a man playing the Guqin and singing the poem of south wind.
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