Japanese Bamboo Flute

Vintage Japanese Bamboo Flute “Shakuhachi” | Madake Bamboo


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 21-2/3"l

Pictured, (front and back), is a wonderful shakuhachi vertical end blown bamboo flute made from thick-walled madake bamboo. It has four finger holes on the front and one at the back creating up to three octaves of mellow acoustic sound. The term “honkyoku” really represents the traditional repertoire for solo shakuhachi, that have helped shape the songs around Japan.

Vintage Condition: Very good and as originally made with a nice patina with some visible wear, (around the mouth piece), but retains the original craft/workmanship. “As is” with no flaws or cracking from the affects from aging, and retains the original craft/workmanship.

NOTE: Good quality madake for shakuhachi is usually found in the high mountain regions in Japan, and after cutting it needs to be placed over warm hot coals in order to extract the natural oils from the bamboo. Then, it must be left in the sun for several months to dry further. It is then stored in a cool area and left for 2 to 5 years before it can be used to make a shakuhachi. The quality based on where the madake was harvested, what craftsman and the sensitivity of the craftsman to the particular piece bamboo will determine the quality of sound produced as well as the price.

During the 16th to the 19th centuries, the shakuhachi was played by Zen monks who practiced it as a form of religious discipline and musical meditation, thus the instrument has been used for centuries as a means for spiritual development. The instrument was additionally used by komusō, monks, also known as the "Priests of Emptiness and Nothingness," who were often seen during the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan, wearing large baskets on their heads to symbolize their detachment from the world wandering the countryside playing Shakuhachi.

With the changes that had occurred in Japanese society, many former warriors no longer carried their swords, which created one curious side effect with the appearance of a shakuhachi tucked in the back of one’s belt for use as a musical device or as a club for protection.