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Xun

The xun is a clay ocarina or vessel flute of the Han Chinese, the main ethnic group of China. It is one of the oldest instruments of China with approximately eight thousand years of history. The xun is usually egg-shaped with a flattened bottom, with five to seven fingerholes and is blown through a large hole at the top. The range of the xun is roughly one octave, with the highest notes demanding a certain degree of skill to play clearly.

Used in formal state ceremonial ensembles, the xun survived in Taiwan, but almost disappeared in China, and was revived due to the discovery of ancient xun in archeological sites in the 1920s to 30s. Now used for both film and popular music, there are even a number of xun virtuosi to be found in China and Hong Kong.

The xun has become very easy to buy in Chinese music stores but the quality varies widely and buyers should shop carefully.

A related instrument is the Korean hun.


Country: China
Region: Asia
Type: ocarina
Collection: Randy Raine-Reusch
Groups: Randy Raine-Reusch
Xun - Chinese ocarina
©  R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002