North American Guqin Association

NAGA JUNE 10, 2006


On Saturday June 10th NAGA celebrated the first ever Chinese Cultural Heritage Day with a multimedia program of presentations reflecting part of China's rich and diverse cultural heritage. The event was reported in some Chinese newspapers, such as the Singtao Daily and the People's Daily. An online report by can be seen at Michael Cohen's photos of the event can be viewed at:

Event summary
NAGA Program for Chinese Cultural Heritage Day
The Guqin in Ancient Paintings and Calligraphy
Guqin Poems
Attendees' comments
List of attendees

Event summary

Fittingly, the program began with a video of an interview with master qin player Li Xiangting which also provided biographical details and comments about the qin's emergence from obscurity during master Li's lifetime. Although many factors are responsible for this, there is no doubt that Li Xiangting's personal efforts have greatly contributed to the qin's resurgence. Professor Wang Yongan gave a talk on the significance of Chinese Cultural Heritage Day and described some of what is happening in China to honor this day.

Wang Fei talked about the significance of why NAGA promotes Chinese culture and guqin music in the US:

※During my many years in the West I have come to believe profoundly that while a country's strength can be measured in terms of its economic development, culture nevertheless plays an extremely important role. Because music is a common language all over the world, and the guqin is so very important in Chinese culture, the guqin is a very good starting point for raising the awareness of Chinese culture abroad. Naturally, Chinese people in the USA all want to enter the mainstream of life here. However &entering the mainstream' does not mean being totally assimilated or blindly conforming to the cultural norm to the point of abandoning your own culture. I think introducing the quintessence of Chinese culture into the US mainstream is actually a way of contributing to the mainstream. Because the USA is a highly diverse nation, the mainstream needs to appreciate the cultures of many countries, so that the various different communities can interact better and the world can be more peaceful.§

She then gave an inspiring talk about the 10 acknowledged classical Chinese music pieces. This list includes at least six (some would say 8) guqin pieces and includes Ping Sha Luo Yan (Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank) and Meihua San Nong (Three Variations on the Plum Blossom Theme). A video of a qin xiao duet by Wang Fei and Li Xiangting was shown. Wang Fei performed solos of Liu Shui (Flowing Water) and Guangling San (Guangling Melody) and sang while playing the qin song Hujia Shiba Pai (Eighteen Stanzas on the Nomad Reedpipe), etc. Liu Shui is considered the most famous Chinese classical composition. Guangling San is considered the king of all qin pieces. Just watching the fingering techniques displayed for this piece could make one dizzy. Wang Fei talked about the stories behind these pieces, giving the audience a better understanding of qin music. During the program Wang Fei played guqin pieces and improvisations while singing qin songs and reciting Chinese poems. Fred read several of these poems in English. The afternoon also included ensemble performances by Kwan, Wenyu, Fred, and Monique on gugin, with Monique also alternating on zhonghu and sanxian. Kwan, Wenyu and Monique sang during some of the pieces. Kwan also gave a memorable solo performance of Feng Qiu Huang. Please see the complete program listing below.

Wang Fei narrated for an extensive and exquisite slide presentation of art masterpieces depicting or related to the guqin. Prints of these pieces were hung on the meeting room walls for all to inspect. The qin has appeared in so many paintings and poems throughout the centuries that proof of its place in Chinese culture is well preserved through these mediums. Please see a list of qin-related art work below.

Dr. Kai Wei, a famous Chinese medicine doctor, gave an informative talk on ancient Chinese characters and brought his own excellent wood carvings of characters to elucidate his presentation. He also spoke about his acupuncture practice, relating some of the amazing results achieved for his patients. The audience was quite intrigued. The program closed with another flawless taiji performance by June Lou, an award winning Taiji player, who performed both a yang style form and a sword form. For the full program listing, Please see the complete program listing below.

Attendees' comments

The enthusiasm with which this program was received could be gauged by some of the post program comments.

The following comment from Dennis, a southern California ESL teacher reflects the purpose behind NAGA's efforts to make this day special: ※The (NAGA) Cultural Heritage Day event sounds very interesting. I think it is wonderful that you are educating people in your culture. I have a student in our school who came here recently from Beijing, and I have told her never to forget her culture. Too many people are in such a hurry to become American that they throw away their past and forget the language they grew up with, and that is a terrible thing to do.§

※I was really impressed with the variety and quality of the presentations yesterday. I think it was one of the most rewarding yajis I have attended. I feel really proud to be a part of this group. It is really inspiring to meet people who are so dedicated to the qin. It really motivates me to be a better qin player.§ 每 Kwan.

※It is wonderful to be able to learn more about the historical background of the qin repertoire as well as Chinese poetry and the people who have written the works, but I also appreciate the yajis more when there are new programs. Although we always have new faces at the yajis, there is a dedicated group who attend almost monthly.§ 每 Monique.

※Topics in different but related disciplines are always fascinating. The wood sculpted calligraphy was impressive, as was the doctor's description of acupuncture. A blending of music, medicine, philosophy, taiji ... may reveal to us and to the world some of the most fascinating discoveries yet to be unearthed (but of course we will not get there overnight).§ 每 Wenyu

※Programs such as this give an American audience a hint of a new way of ※feeling§ the world. The art of the guqin, poetry, painting, and taiji are all experiential modes that the Chinese have developed over centuries. One could say that the product of these arts is not notes, or words, or a canvas, but a new self. The East has much to teach the West.§ 每 Fred

In closing, here is another fitting comment from an audience member Kristine: ※This is really such a great event!!! I enjoyed each moment in the program. The guqin music, the stories behind the music, the poems, paintings, the wood sculpted calligraphy, jokes... I salute your spirit and hard work spreading Chinese culture. I'm proud to be Chinese.§

NAGA Program for Chinese Cultural Heritage Day

1.    CCTV<大家>专访李祥霆
CCTV's ※Great Masters§ visits Li Xiangting

2.    王永安教授讲中国文化遗产
Prof. Wang Yongan talked about China's cultural heritage

3.    王菲讲古琴历史,中国十大古典名曲中的六首古琴曲
Wang Fei talked about the history of the guqin and the six guqin pieces in the Ten Major Musical Works of China

4.    王菲讲古琴历史,在中国文化中的地位,著名的琴人,名曲等.
The history of the guqin, its place in China's culture, famous guqin players, pieces, etc.

5.    王菲讲许多诗人都是琴家,写跟琴有关的诗词.古琴诗词(见下面)
Wang Fei talked about the qin in Chinese poetry and noted that many poets were masters of the guqin and wrote poems relating to it.

6.    琴歌. 李白子夜吴歌》三个古琴与中胡,用中英文演唱
Guqin song: Li Bai'sZi Ye Wu Ge§, Kwan Wong, Wenyu Jiang, and Fred Pohlmann on guqin and Monique Kuo on zhonghu, sung in Chinese and English by Kwan, Wenyu, and Monique.

7.    古琴即兴与中英文诗朗诵. 李白听蜀僧浚弹琴
Guqin improvisation by Wang Fei and poem recital in Chinese by Wang Fei and English by Fred of Li Bai's ※Listening to Shu Sengjun Play the Guqin§

8.    英文朗诵与中文琴歌吟唱. 蔡文姬胡笳十八拍
English recital by Fred with a sung guqin song by Wang Fei of Cai Wenji'sHujia Shiba Pai§ (Eighteen Stanzas on the Nomad Reedpipe), Wang Fei on guqin

9.    Fred讲竹林七贤.古琴合奏《酒狂》二个古琴与一个三弦
Fred talked about the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. ※Jiu Kuang§ (Drunken Ecstasy), Kwan Wong and Fred Pohlmann on guqin and Monique Kuo on sanxian

10. 琴歌.阳关三叠》二个古琴一个中胡
Guqin song: ※Yang Guan San Die§ (Three Variations on the Yangguan Theme), Kwan Wong and Fred Pohlmann on guqin and Monique Kuo on zhonghu

11. 蒋文宇《湘江怨》讲解及演奏
Jiang Wenyu talked about Emperor Shun's wives grieving after his death. ※Xiangjiang Yuan§ (Lament of the Xiang Concubine), Kwan Wong, Wenyu Jiang, and Monique Kuo on guqin

12. 独奏《凤求凰(The Phoenix Woos His Mate)及讲解卓文君与司马相如的爱情故事.
Wong Kwan played ※Feng Qiu Huang§ (The Phoenix Woos his Mate) and told the story of Sima Xiangru courting Zhuo Wenjun by playing this piece

13. 王菲独奏《流水》及讲解俞伯牙与钟子期高山流水遇知音的故事.
Wang Fei played ※Liu Shui§ (Flowing Water) and told the story of how Zhong Ziqi knew whether Yu Boya was playing about high mountains or flowing waters

14. 王菲独奏《广陵散》及讲聂政刺韩王的故事.
Wang Fei played ※Guangling San§ (Guangling Melody) and told the story of Nie Zheng stabbing the King of Han

15. 魏凯讲解篆刻,针灸与中医
Wei Kai talked about seal cutting, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine

16. 楼旨君太极拳及太极剑
Taijiquan and taiji sword by June Lou

The Guqin in Ancient Paintings and Calligraphy

1. 汉抚琴俑图
Qin-playing Terra-cotta statuette, Han Dynasty

2. 汉画像石《聂政刺韩王》图
Nie Zheng Attacking the King of Han 每 Stone tablet, Han Dynasty

3. 王振鹏 伯牙鼓琴图
Bo Ya Playing the Qin 每 Wang Zhenpeng, Yuan Dynasty

伯牙鼓琴图 (局部 )

4. 抚琴图铜镜
Mirror with Qin Player 每 Tang Dynasty
The Art Institute of Chicago Collection

5. 孔子学琴图
Confucius Learning the Qin

6. 东晋 顾恺之 斫琴图
Making the QinGu Kaizhi, East Jin Dynasty
Beijing Gugong Palace Museum

7. 昭君出塞图
Zhao Jun Leaving the Han Border

8. 张禹 文姬归汉图
Wenji Returning to Han 每 Zhang Yu, Jin Dynasty
Jilin Museum Collection

9. 陈居中 文姬归汉图(局部)
Wenji Returning to Han (Part) 每 Chen Juzhong, Ming Dynasty
工笔设色 147.4℅107.7厘米, 台北故宫博物院收藏
Taipei Gugong Palace Museum

10. 文姬归汉图

Wenji Returning to Han

11. 北齐佚名 北齐校书图
Examining Books 每 Anonymous, Northern Qi Dynasty
绢本设色 美国波士顿美术馆藏
Colored painting on silk, Boston Art Museum Collection

12. 周昉调琴啜茗图
Court Ladies Tuning the Qin 每 Zhou Fang, Tang Dynasty
绢本设色 28℅75.3厘米, 纳尔艾京斯博物馆收藏
Nelson-Atkins Museum Collection

13. 五代周文矩 宫中图
Ladies of the Court 每 Zhou Wenzu, Five Dynasties
Cleveland Museum of Art

14. 杜堇 宫中图
Ladies of the Court 每 Du Jin, Ming Dynasty
绢本设色 上海博物馆藏

Painting on silk, Shanghai Museum Collection

15. 宫中图 (局部 )

Ladies of the Court 每 detail

16. 北宋徽宗赵佶 听琴图
Listening to the Qin 每 Zhao Ji, Emperor of Northern Song
Beijing Gugong Palace Museum

听琴图 (局部)

Emperor Yong Zheng Playing the Qin

18. 南宋 夏圭 临流抚琴图
Playing the Qin by the River 每 Xia Gui, Southern Song Dynasty
Beijing Gu Gong Palace Museum

19. 明末清初 陈洪绶 学琴图
Learning the Qin - Chen Hongshou, Ming/Qing Dynasty

Berkeley Art Museum

20. 南宋 刘松年 听琴图
Listening to the Qin 每 Liu Songnian, Southern Song Dynasty
Cleveland Museum of Art

21. 明丁云鹏 山水
Mountain and Water 每 Ding Yunpeng, Ming Dynasty
Mrs. Lee Moss Collection, England

22. 明末清初萧云从 山水
Mountain and Water 每 Xiao Yuncong, Ming/Qing Dynasty
Berkeley Art Museum Collection

23. 元王蒙 静室听音图
Listening to the Qin in a Serene Room 每 Wang Meng, Yuan Dynasty
Mr. and Mrs. Wan-go H.C. Weng Collection

24. 明宣德《琴棋书画》罐《 弹琴图》
Qin and the Four Arts, Painting on Vase 每 Ming Dynasty

25. 海北友雪 源氏物语的音乐会
The Tale of Genji picture scroll 每 Kaiho Yusetsu, Japan Edo period (1615-1868)
Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation Collection


26. Wine and Tea - Tomioka Tessai, Japan, Edo period, 19th century
Private Collection

27. 现代张隆延 书黄庭坚局
Calligraphy after Huang Tianjian 每 Modern era
Yuan Jung-ping Collection

28. 中江藤树 抱琴
Carrying a QinNakae Toju, Japan, Edo Period
Shoka Collection

29. 松本工刘 石影
Stone Shadows - Matsumoto Koryu, Japan, Edo period
Shoka Collection

30. 东皋心越禅师用琴
Qin owned by the Zen Priest Donggao Xinyue, Ming/Qing Dynasty
Private Collection

31. 阿弥佗佛与菩萨迎众生度极乐世界
Amida and Bodhisattva Welcoming Souls to Paradise 每 Japan Kamakura period (1185-1333)
Smithsonian Institution Collection

Guqin Poems

Li Bai: ※Listening to Shu Sengjun Play the Qin§

Li Bai ※Listening on a Moonlit Night to Lu Zishun Play the Qin§


Wang Wei ※In Answer to Vice-magistrate Zhang§


Bai Juyi ※Abandoning the Qin§


Bai Juyi ※Listening as the &Lament of the Xiang Concubine' is Played§


Liu Changqing ※Playing the Qin§


Li BaiZi Ye Wu Ge§


Wang Wei ※Seeing off Yuan Er on a Journey to the Pass§


List of attendees

Christie Chen

Rong Chen

Kai K Ching

Yee Ping Ching

Michael Cohen

Philip Flavin

Eliot Greenleaf

Kristine Ju

Wenyu Jiang

Dr. Wei Kai

Monique Kuo

Eugene Lew

Mrs. Lew

Lily Li

Jing Liao

Frank Lin

June Lou

Jean Metcalfe

Hongliang Pan

Fred Pohlmann

Wang Fei

Yan Wang

Wang Yongan

Kwan Wong

Yihong Xu

Robert Zhou




Thanks go to Wenyu for assembling the artwork Powerpoint presentation and display, and translating during the program, to Wenyu and Christopher Evans for translations of this text, and to Michael Cohen for photos and videos taken.

Reporter: Fred Pohlmann

Editor : Julian Joseph

North American Guqin Association



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