Condition: Excellent

Vintage Japanese Traditional Shakuhachi Flute | Showa 1930s

This is an old style Shakuhachi flute finished with a thin Urushi lacquer which was originally applied over the ends and the bore to seal it from moisture damage. Inside and outside the flute are “ribs”, (natural bamboo Shearth scar/Intra-node), that enhances resonance and how much air the flute will accept and how hard the sound can be pushed. As more air is introduced into the bore and blowing becomes more intense, the higher partials or overtones of the sound are exercised giving the shakuhachi its distinctive ringing tone. The shakuhachi is traditionally made from the root end of a bamboo culm. Each piece of bamboo is unique and must be carefully selected to ensure that the shape of each flute results in correct pitch for all notes. Professional shakuhachi players prefer bamboo, citing tonal qualities, aesthetics, and tradition. The mouth piece has an un-ornamented Shaku top to promote ease of use. The piece contains four (4) holes on top and one (1) for the thumb underneath. Shakuhachi bamboo flutes cannot be mass-produced, making them rare. Condition: Excellent for its age with minimal scaring from use. Dimensions: 21-3/4” Long.

Additional Information —

The instrument is played by placing the mouth piece under one’s lower lip and blowing directly onto the the edge of the notch. Sound is modulated by using one’s fingers to open or close openings in the body of the piece. It is often said that every flute renders a unique tone, so one can tell the difference between two musicians playing the same note on the shakuhachi and similar to the differences in the human voice.

The roots of the shakuhachi date back to ancient China when it was originally designed to be a weapon and warning device. However, it was during the Japanese Edo Period, (1603-1868), when the shakuhachi established itself as one of the most versatile wind instruments in Japan. There are historical records of the shakuhachi being used in Buddhist ceremonies from the eight century and used while chanting Buddhist sutras. It was played by traveling Zen monks called komusō. These were former samurai or rōnin. One sect of monks known as komusō, (traveling preachers), wore a straw basket called tengai on their heads to distance themselves from the world of reality.

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