Shakuhachi



「修行尺八」歴史的証拠の研究   ホームページ
      'Shugyō Shakuhachi' rekishi-teki shōko no kenkyū hōmupēji - zen-shakuhachi.dk

The "Ascetic Shakuhachi" Historical Evidence Research Web Pages

Introduction & Guide to the Documentation & Critical Study of Ascetic, Non-Dualistic Shakuhachi Culture, East & West:
Historical Chronology, Philology, Etymology, Vocabulary, Terminology, Concepts, Ideology, Iconology & Practices

By Torsten Mukuteki Olafsson • トーステン 無穴笛 オーラフソンデンマーク • Denmark

 



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ca. 630-645: Did the Imperial Music Master
     Lü Ts'ai really Invent the "Chinese Shakuhachi"?

No, we know of no reliable proof that Lü Ts'ai, 606-665, or any possible other named person, specifically invented and manufactured any "shakuhachi flute" with actual, real finger holes, such as a "Chinese shakuhachi"!

Although it is very popular to credit the early T'ang Dynasty music master Lü Ts'ai/Lü Cai,
呂才, active ca. 627-649, with the "invention" of the "Chinese shakuhachi", the Chinese historical source being referred to, the 'Chiu T'ang Shu', 旧唐書, "Old Book of T'ang", Chuàn/Juàn/Vol. 79, dated 945, certainly only relates the term 'shakuhachi', Chinese: 'chi'h-pa', 尺八, to the set of twelve Chinese pitch pipes: 'lü-kuan', 律管, or: 'shi-er lü-lü', 十二律呂, that were in fact in existence and use at least as early as during the Former Han Dynasty, 202 BCE to 9 CE – not to a set of "12 shakuhachi flutes of differing length".

Set of 12 Chinese pitch pipes dated a. 180 BCE found at a famous, very significant burial site at Ma-wang-tui near Ch'ang-sha in Hunan Province, China.

Set of 12 Chinese pitch pipes dated a. 180 BCE found at a famous, very significant burial site
at Ma-wang-tui, No. 3 Tomb, near Ch'ang-sha in Hunan Province, China.
Picture from a special edition of the archaeological magazine Wen Wu, September, 1972.

It should be noted that the 12 pitch pipes shown above were possibly manufactured
to be part of a special Chinese Han Period type of mouth organ, namely the 'yu', .


Quotation from the "Lü Ts'ai Tradition" passage in the Old T'ang Dynasty History Book, Chuàn/Juàn/Vol. 79, dated 945 CE:

「侍中王珪,魏徴又盛稱才學術之妙,徴日「才能爲尺十二枚,『尺八』長短不同,各應律管,無不諧韻」太宗即徴才,令直弘文館。」

Link to the relevant Chinese source texts in question: https://blog.goo.ne.jp/james_mac/e/c9b08b1ead64f23aaba30489a38fd90f



Lü Ts'ai Shakuhachi legend in one version of the 'T'ang-shu'

One T'ang-shu edition in the possession of the Museum of Hangzhou Local Chronicles/Hangzhou Local History Museum, China.

Bamboo pitch pipe dimensions in the T'ang-shu

Dimensions of the bamboo pitch pipes

Court music instruments list

Names of T'ang court musical instruments listed in the T'ang-shu

Clay figurines of possible T'ang Dynasty musicians

Clay figurines of possibly Chinese T'ang Dynasty musicians, the one to the left seemingly
a 'xiao'/Chinese 'shakuhachi' player, the one to the right playing a horizontal stringed zither


Source: https://hznews.hangzhou.com.cn/wghz/content/2019-10/11/content_7282303_0.htm



Here is the Lü Ts'ai shakuhachi chapter presented by the Chinese WikiSource.org website:

呂才

呂才,博州清平人也。

少好學,善陰陽方伎之書。

貞觀三年,太宗令祖孝孫增損樂章,孝孫乃與明音律人王長通、白明達遞相長短。

太宗令侍臣更訪能者,中書令溫彥博奏才聰明多能,眼所未見,耳所未聞,一聞一見,皆達其妙,尤長於聲樂,請令考之。

侍中王珪、魏徵又盛稱才學術之妙,徵曰:

「才能為尺十二枚,尺八長短不同,各應律管,無不諧韻。」

太宗即徵才,令直引文館。

太宗嘗覽周武帝所撰《三局象經》,不曉其旨。

太子洗馬蔡允恭年少時嘗為此戲,太宗召問,亦廢而不通,乃召才使問焉。

才尋繹一宿,便能作圖解釋,允恭覽之,依然記其舊法,與才正同,由是才遂知名。

累遷太常博士。

太宗以陰陽書近代以來漸致訛偽,穿鑿既甚,拘忌亦多。

遂命才與學者十餘人共加刊正,削其淺俗,存其可用者。

勒成五十三卷,並舊書四十七卷,十五年書成,詔頒行之。

才多以典故質正其理,雖為術者所短,然頗合經義,今略載其數篇。


Source: https://zh.m.wikisource.org/zh-hant/%E8%88%8A%E5%94%90%E6%9B%B8/%E5%8D%B779


The Chinese website Baike.com/wikiid presents this picture of Lü Ts'ai, 606-665, on a biography webpage about him:

Court music instruments list

The music master Lü Ts'ai, 606-665 - probably a quite contemporary picture ...


Source: https://www.baike.com/wikiid/8126344071260900980?prd=result_list&view_id=lhgazlf20ww00


Japanese musicologist Akedo Shin'ya, 明土真也, has presented this interesting conclusion of his regarding Lü Ts'ai's pitch pipes - link to PDF below:

" - - - It has thus far widely been understood that the shakuhachi was invented by LU Cai ( 呂才 ; circa 600−665)of the Tang( )Dynasty.

Therefore, the measurement of the instruments of both the Hōryū-ji Temple and the Shōsō−in was long considered to have been based on Tang-xiao-chi唐小尺)measurement, even though some of them at the Shōsō-in do not match it. - - - "

Read more here - source: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ongakugaku/59/1/59_KJ00009557381/_pdf


This web page may be further elaborated in the future ...



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