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Wood Percussion Instrument for Musical Ensemble with Painted Design

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: lacquer on wood

 This gold lacquered object decorated with painted design is a percussion instrument (specifically called a zhu). It was mainly used with the traditional musical ensemble (Zhonghe shaoyue) in various sacrificial rituals performed at sacrficial altars, temples, and court assemblies. Whatever the size of the orchestra, only one zhu would be included. Its positioning was fixed—always on the eastern end of the ensemble. Before the bells and chimes were sounded, a musician would strike the interior of the zhu with a mallet once to announce the beginning of the ensemble's performance.

 
 
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