A Pumi girl is playing Sixianqin. (Photo from yunnan.cn)
The Sixianqin is a traditional musical instrument named after a Qin general loved very much by the Pumis. In Pumi villages, simple and mellifluous music played with the Sixian can be heard no matter whether one is in the fields or inside a wood houses. Sixian is not only a common instrument but also a tool for boys to express love to girls. The tone of "Sixian" is beautiful. When Pumi people return to home after being away and family members reunite or friends meet again, the "Sixian" is played to express happy feelings. Today, even with the intrusion of modern instruments, Pumis still love "Sixian". People use it to praise new life, express their deep love of their hometown and boys use it to convey their admiration to girls.
According to legend, long ago there was a boy named Abu who fell in love with a beautiful girl named Anai, but the girl wasn't moved in the slightest degree by his true affection. Hurt and bored, Abu cut a piece of wood and sadly carved one end of it into the shape of a human head, and covered the "face" with sheepskin. He carved the other end into the shape of human's body and stretched four flax threads on the wood, creating the "Sixianqin". Abu dejectedly played the Sixian day and night, day after day, pouring out wonderful music with his sadness. The sound of strings reverberated in the air above the village. On the forth day of the constant music, Anai was finally moved by Abu's sincerity, and accepted his love. From then on, "Sixian" became symbol of good luck and happiness for the Pumis.
A Pumi boy is playing Sixianqin to convey his admiration to the girl. (Photo from yunnan.cn)
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