There’s an entire laundry list of technological innovations that the Chinese developed centuries before the West, including porcelain, silk, the compass, paper and gunpowder.
Another area in which the Chinese beat the west was music, via an instrument called the bianzhong.
Bianzhong bells are made of bronze and were developed at least 3600 years ago in ancient China. Because of their unique shape, each bell can produce two different tones, depending on where the musician strikes them. A full set of 65 bells can play a complete 12 tone scale – another capability that the Chinese developed over 2,000 years earlier than Europeans.
In the entire world, only one of these ancient instruments remains intact. In fact, their existence was basically forgotten until 1978, when a set of Bianzhong bells was discovered during the excavation of the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng. These enormous, ornate bells have been dated to 433 BC. Despite being well over 2,000 years old, they are in pristine condition and still playable.
Bianzhong bells are huge instruments that were generally played by multiple musicians. In fact, per Wikipedia, one rack of bells on the Bianzhong of Marquis Yi is 7.48 meters long by 2.65 meters wide. The other rack is 3.35 meters long by 2.73 meters wide. Environmental Graffiti says that the entire instrument weighs more than 4 tons!
Y0u can see this impressive instrument on display at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan. However, before you plan a trip to China, brush up on China visa requirements to ensure you have the right documents.
Unlike some countries, China does not do visas on arrival for American citizens. So, you’ll need to apply for your China visa in advance and have it in hand before you leave the states. For more information on how to get a China visa to travel as a tourist, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.
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