Two forms are found: a large one from the North, with a thin metal plate attached inside to enrich the sound; and a smaller version from the South. Like the pipa, the sanxian may accompany narrative song, changing its tuning to accommodate the singer. The bat decorating the finials of these instruments is depicted on many Chinese objects and is a symbol of good luck.
Mrs. Alexander Glass
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing. @2015 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2015, p. 162, ill.