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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Friday, April 09, 2004

World's Oldest Plucked Instruments Found In Xinjiang

:: Xinhuanet - English :::

Xinjiang  Uygur China map "Archaeologists say that they have discovered three Konghous, an ancient plucked stringed instruments, during the excavation of the Yanghai Tombs in Shanshan County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

'The three unearthed ancient musical instruments are well preserved and intact,' said Zhang Yuzhong, deputy director of the local archaeological institute.

'The three musical instruments may be even older than the two Konghous excavated in Zhaluguke tombs dating back 3,000 years to the sixth century in Qiemo County of Xinjiang in the 1990s. The two had been considered the oldest plucked stringed musical instruments ever discovered in the world,' said Zhang. "

The Uygur people of Xinjiang are famed for their musicianship and plucked instruments are very prominent in their culture and have been for countlless centuries.

It will be intersting to see what the origins of these are as Uygur history can only be reliably traced back to 300 BCE when the Uygurs ancestors the Dingling were first mentioned in Chinese and Persian histories. Prior to that it is thought that the tribes that were to become known as the Uygur lived a nomadic lifestlye in southern Siberia and Mongolia.