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date: 16 November 2019

Niujiao haolocked

  • Alan R. Thrasher

Extract

Horn of the Han Chinese in coastal Fujian province and Taiwan, and numerous ethnic minorities in southwestern China. Sometimes simply called niujiao (‘buffalo horn’), it is typically the hollowed horn of a water buffalo, generally 40 to 70 cm long, though occasionally constructed from wood in imitation of horn. A small cup mouthpiece is carved into the end or a wooden mouthpiece is inserted. There are no fingerholes. It can be assumed that animal-horn instruments were used in China by the Han dynasty (206 bce–220 ce) because stone rubbings of this period show long curved horns as military instruments—sometimes of metal, but imitating animal horns. The treatise Yueshu (c1100) confirms that metal horns (tongjiao, ‘copper horns’) in the shape of buffalo horns were present in the early Song dynasty. An undated Miao-culture buffalo horn (TW.T.as) decorated with four brass bands and with a carved wooden mouthpiece, sounds the first five overtones above the fundamental, which does not sound. Formerly military instruments, such horns are employed nowadays in outdoor celebrations, funerals, and Daoist religious practices....

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