Li Yuan-hong , the folk Xun Maker and Player

Xun History
"Xun" is an ancient Chinese wind instrument. It has a history of about 7000 years. It first appeared as a tool for attracting animals and birds, a very important step in hunting. Later it became an important palace instrument in Shang Dynasty but started to vanish after the Tang Dynasty. It is during the 1970s that Chinese musiologists started to recover and reproduce xuns basing on excavated written historical documents and real objects and began to bring it onto the stage for performance. It won the name of "wonderful music box".


About The Artist

Born in a ceramicist family, Li Yuan-hong started to learn clay art in his childhood. His grandfather was an expert in pinching 12 zodiac whistles. This provided a favorable background for his xun making career. In 1990s he learnt ceramics from his uncle who was an artist of Guizhou Province Art Research Center. He started creating and performing in 1993. His xuns are now widely appreciated by people from different parts of the world.

Chinese xun flute maker Y.H. Li
Y.H. Li opening finger holes for his xuns


2002--Highly Commended Prize for the Design of Tourist Souvenir, Zhejiang Province

2004--Highly Commended Prize for Chinese Folk Art Design

Visiting The Artist
Mr. Y.H. Li lives in a humble hut by a river in a remote unpolluted mountainous forest area in Hangzhou. The only means of transport there was bicycles. Sometimes you have to ride over shallow rivers when water splashes everywhere. You will have the feelings of making pilgrimage to Saints. Mr. Li is a very warm folk musician noted for his hospitality. The hand-wheel is the first thing you see when entering his workshop. The wheel is spinned by hand with the help of a wooden stick. It looks like a grinding tool.

Chinese xun flute maker Y.H. Li

Y.H. Li tuning his xuns

You will feel the touch of hand in his instruments. Most of his xuns are wood fired and interesting smoke marks can be seen. He has explored with different kinds and colors of clay. Zisha clay which is a very treasurable clay for making top quality teapots has been widely used by him to make treasurable xuns. And recently he has been using dark brown, red, green, grey zisha clay to make xuns with marbling effects. Chinese xun flute maker Y.H. Li
Y.H. Li and his masterpieces
Chinese xun flute maker Y.H. Li
Y.H. Li's xuns and ocarinas