W. 10 1/2 in. (26.6 cm); D. 4 1/4 in. (11 cm); L. 46 5/8 in. (118.5 cm)
Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, Seymour Fund, The Boston Foundation Gift, Gift of Elizabeth M. Riley, by exchange, and funds from various donors, 1999
Not on view
Many Ming-dynasty princes, starting with the sons of the founder and continuing until the last generation before the dynasty's fall in the mid-seventeenth century, were accomplished musicians, and some made important contributions to musicology and musical theory. The first prince of Lu (1568–1614), brother of Emperor Shenzhong (Wanli), was an immensely rich man, and hundreds of qin were made for his household and descendants in the last years of the Ming dynasty. All bear the inscription of the Princedom of Lu, and all are numbered. About ten Prince Lu qin are extant; the one in the Metropolitan Museum, number 18, dated 1634, is the earliest. The highest-numbered Prince Lu qin known is number 295. It is dated 1644, the year the Ming dynasty came to an end.
The back of the Metropolitan's qin bears the maker's seal and date, the words "Capital Peace," and a twenty-character poem by Jingyi Zhuren (d. 1670) that reads:
The moonlight is being reflected by the river Yangzi A light breeze is blowing over clear dewdrops, Only in a tranquil place Can one comprehend the feeling of eternity.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: At the head of the back of the instrument is the title Zhonghe (Capital Peace) and below it is a twenty-character poem by Jinyi Zhuren (d. 1670), and below the poem appears the seal Luguo shi quan (Heirloom of the Lu State),
The poem reads:
The moonlight is being reflected by the river Yangtze
A light breeze is below over clear dewdrops,
Only in a tranquil place
Can one comprehend the feeling of eternity.
Signed, Jingyi Zhuren