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Tiger-Shaped Wooden Yu Instrument for Musical Ensemble with Painted Decorations

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Wood

This musical instrument in the shape of a crouching tiger is called a yu. The striped tiger is set upon a gold lacquered pedestal. The central groove along the back of the tiger is furnished with an array of twenty-seven equal-size rectangular wooden plates in groups of three and painted in different colours. These plates called chuyu produce the sound of the instrument. The pedestal supporting the instrument has two protruding handles on one side for placing the beater, which is made by halving a bamboo stem and cutting twenty-four teeth along one half. To play this instrument, the toothed beater would be raked against the back of the instrument in reverse to produce sound. Upon completion of an ensemble, the yu would be sounded to mark the end. 

Website version edited by Zhuang Ying and Adam J. Ensign

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