GUQIN AND ITS MUSIC
The Chinese zither, called guqin, has existed for over 3,000 years and represents China’s foremost solo musical instrument tradition. The guqin was one of the four arts – along with calligraphy, painting, and an ancient form of chess (Xiangqi) – that Chinese scholars were expected to master. According to tradition, 20 years of training was required to attain proficiency.
The guqin has seven strings and 13 marked pitch positions. By attaching the strings in 10 different ways, players can obtain a range of four octaves. The three basic playing techniques are known as san (open string), an (stopped string) and fan (harmonics).
Nowadays, there are fewer than one thousand well-trained guqin players and perhaps no more than 50 surviving masters. The original repertory of several thousand compositions has drastically dwindled to a mere hundred works that are regularly performed today.
Guqin practice was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
Date of issue: 10 August 2023
Artist: Yun Zhang (P.R. China)
Designer: Rorie Katz (United Nations)
Souvenir sheet size: 40 mm x 140 mm with a 30 mm x 40 mm stamp
Printer: Royal Joh Enschedé (The Netherlands)
Process: Offset lithography