The Museum of Oriental Musical Instruments

The Museum of Oriental Musical Instruments (MOMI) affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music is the first of its kind in China’s art colleges.

The Museum holds more than 500 instruments coming from past and present, from China and foreign countries. It consists of four exhibition sections: Ancient Chinese Musical Instruments, Modern Chinese Musical Instruments, Chinese Minorities Folk Musical Instruments, and Foreign Folk Musical Instruments. The oldest Chinese instrument is the heptatonic bone flute unearthed from Jiahu, Henan Province, 8000 years from now. Among the other rare things are the bronze idiophone chunyu and the brass drum of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D.220), and the se and qin zithers of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). The largest is the set of collected bronze bells, a copy of the famous original from the tomb of Yi, Marquis of Zeng, unearthed from Mawang Dui, Hunan Province. The most striking are the four-string and the five-string pipa lute of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), with inlay of mother-of-pearl, emerald, and agate. They are copies kept in the Shosoin Imperial Treasury, Nara, Japan. As for the modern traditional Chinese musical instruments, all of them play important roles in modern Chinese orchestras. In addition, the Museum collects folk instruments of such minority peoples as Tibet, Dai, Yi, Manchu, Mongolia, Jing, Miao, Korea, Jingpo, Uighur and Uzbek. The traditional musical instruments outside China are those from India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, Australia, and African countries.

The Museum also holds a multimedia demonstration hall and an electronic search system for all the information of its musical instruments.