07 May 2019
Erxian with dragon head and Chinese characters on sound box
MOCA CMTA Collection

The erxian – literally “two strings” – is a Chinese bowed string instrument used primarily in Cantonese music. It has two strings running along a hardwood neck which are traditionally bowed with a hard bow made of thick bamboo. Some erxian are topped with ornately carved dragon heads. After the development of the lighter, more approachable gaohu in the 1920s, the erxian became less popular and has since been played almost exclusively in Cantonese operas, where it usually accompanies singing. While still a staple instrument of Cantonese opera ensembles, modern erxian players have adapted the instrument with steel strings and lighter erhu bows instead of using the traditional heavy silk strings and unwieldy hardwood bows. MOCA’s Chinese Musical Theatrical Association (CMTA) Collection includes a number of rare musical instruments such as this one, among other costumes, photographs, props, and related documents.


Countdown to the TCS NYC Marathon on November 3, 2019: 216 Days.

2019年是美国第一条横贯大陆铁路建成150周年,为了纪念第一批华人来美建设这条铁路所做出的巨大贡献, MOCA将其2019 TCS NYC Marathon的活动命名为 MOCA Spike 150 – Running Forward With Our Stories! 鼓励大家通过马拉松公益跑,全国线上接力,以及一天一个故事的方式讲述150个华人的历史故事,敬请大家持续关注, 讲出华人自己的故事,回顾过去,立足现在,展望未来,共同书写美国历史,使之更加充实完整。

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