The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way.”

— Nikola Tesla (Inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist)



Blind Guci Musicians in Ancient Chinese Imperial Courts: a Cultural Puzzle

A mural of a blind musician playing a harp, from the tomb of the ancient Egyptian scribe called Nakht.
A mural of a blind musician playing a harp, from the tomb of the ancient Egyptian scribe called Nakht.
Saint Cecilia by Guido Reni, 1606.
Saint Cecilia by Guido Reni, 1606.

Guci art and blind court musicians, each shedding light on the significance of the other, appear in literature from Chinese antiquity. Those blind pioneers played a role in epic history while other blind people lived rather constricted lives. They are credited with having “magical auditory and tactile sense, prodigious memory, keen discernment and proficiency in temperament” in historical paradigms. Unfortunately, those blind artists have contributed greatly to the development of Chinese culture, especially in music – but hitherto their work has not yet been properly valued. This presentation recovers the fascinating ‘missing history’ with detailed extensive documentation, and suggests some reasons why these records and bias in later accounts disappeared from view.

  • Why was the post of court musicians traditionally filled by blind persons in ancient China?
  • Why could those blind musicians be monarch courtiers like other scholar-bureaucrats?
  • Can their talents be considered irreplaceable by that of their rival sighted counterparts?
  • Are they endowed with contributing musical performances only for hedonics?
  • What’s the gendered meaning of those court musicians?

Supporting Information:

  • This precious audio snippet featured the original record of the radio programme “Yongkang Guci” on August 28, 2009. This programme was a routine radio show from 12:30 am to 13:00 pm produced by the Yongkang People’s Radio at FM 106.6. In this record, the special guest star was the old famous blind Yongkang Guci artist TONG Zhao-ji (童兆基) (1938- ) from the Heng-yang village, Tang-xian Town, Yongkang city, who contributed to this authentic Yongkang Guci show in local Yongkang dialect.
  •  Audio file in mp3 format:
  • The earliest known Neumatic notations of Guci with Ba-ban style appeared in the English statesman and writer Sir John Barrow’s travel notes in 1804.
  •  Source:
    • Chinese Popular Airs. No. III. In: John Barrow (1804). Travels in China: Containing Descriptions, Observations, and Comparisons, Made and Collected in the Course of a Short Residence at the Imperial Palace of Yuen-Min-Yuen, and on a Subsequent Journey Through the Country from Pekin to Canton. p. 319. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.
  • Audio file in MIDI format:

Different Angles Different Rainbows: Miss Out On?

Are wet-induced wrinkled fingers primate rain treads ?
Are wet-induced wrinkled fingers primate rain treads ?

All of the different colors of the rainbows are very recognizable and memorable to all who observe them, different angles and different scenes. Changing the angles could help us to appreciate the full effects of such an amazing feature of the Earth. Unfortunately, in scientific sphere, this common sense is conventionally understood as nominal rather than substantial.

  • Novel insights always stem from encrypted puzzles with no beginning and no ending.
  • Changing the angles would finally help us penetrate to the deciphering puzzles and the essence of reality.
  • Tapping our heads, questioning ourselves – miss out on?

Key References

Definition of Cultural Heritage

Space Heritage Law

Cultural Tourism

Recommendation on International Principles Applicable to Archaeological Excavations (1956)

Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954)

The Universal Copyright Convention (1952)
Roerich Pact: Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments (1933)

Chinese Historical and Cultural Towns and Villages

Contemporary theory of conservation

With time rolling on, everything fell into oblivion in the history, and it is visionary endeavor that will finally help us penetrate to the essence of reality.”

— Zhiwen Hu