Qing flute

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  • Other Names: 横笛 (J: yokofue, ôteki), てう (J: teu, chô), 半笙 (J: hanshô, O: fansô)
  • Chinese/Japanese: 清笛 (Qīng dí / shinteki)

The transverse flute[1] (J: yokofue or ôteki) known in Japan as a "Qing flute" (J: shinteki) is a style of instrument widely used in China from the Qing Dynasty onward, as well as in Ryukyuan uzagaku court music; Ryukyuan embassies to Edo employed such flutes as well, in their performances during missions to Japan.

Surviving examples of 18th century Ryukyuan instruments in Tokugawa collections include flutes of varying lengths, each of them made of a length of bamboo, with black lacquered buffalo horn fittings at either end. Each has nine finger holes on the top of the instrument (plus the mouthpiece), and two on the bottom, plus another two where a tassel could be strung for purely decorative purposes. Each is bound in twenty-four places with string coated in lacquer and gold leaf.

The instrument is sometimes referred to in early modern Japanese or Ryukyuan documents as hanshô,[2] and is closely related to the Ryukyuan fansô.


  • Okinawa bijutsu zenshû 沖縄美術全集 5, 342.
  1. Whereas instruments such as the dongxiao and shakuhachi are end-blown flutes, played vertically or held out in front of the body, the transverse flute, by definition, describes a category of flute which, like that found in modern/Western orchestras and wind ensembles today, is held horizontally out to the side from the player's face.
  2. Liao Zhenpei 廖真珮, "Ryûkyû kyûtei ni okeru Chûgoku kei ongaku no ensô to denshô" 琉球宮廷における中国系音楽の演奏と伝承, in Uzagaku no fukugen ni mukete 御座楽の復元に向けて, Naha, Okinawa: Uzagaku fukugen ensô kenkyûkai 御座楽復元演奏研究会 (2007),93-94.