Rag–dung, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), early 17th century
Copper, cloisonné, brass; L. 74 in. (188 cm); (1989.33) L. 76 9/16 in. (194.5 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1989 (1989.33)
Purchase, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Freedman, by exchange, 1988 (1988.349)
Although Confucianism remained the basis for the structure of government in China, it was Buddhism, introduced in the first century B.C., that flourished from the Han to the Tang dynasties (206 B.C.–906 A.D.). Among the instruments associated with Buddhism were the rag-dung, long trumpets played for morning and evening calls to prayer, preludes, and processions. It was unusual for musical instruments to be enameled; cloisonné was usually reserved for containers like boxes or vases. These Tibetan-style long trumpets were among the many instruments made in China and sent as gifts to impress officials of bordering nations. Such gifts of musical instruments and the musicians who played them were not uncommon in East Asia. This political musical custom promoted the dissemination of musical ideas. Rag-dung, like many Asian trumpets, collapse for storage.