Image: Replicas of instruments are played for museum visitors. Hubei Provincial Museum, Wuhan, China. Finds from the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, dated 433 BCE. The tomb was found in Suizhou in 1977. It contained four chambers which had filled with water immediately after the burial, thus preserving the contents. The tomb yielded artefacts made of fragile organic materials (wood, bamboo, lacquer) as well as stone and a very large hoard of bronze objects. Inside the main burial chamber was the body of Yi inside two nested lacquer coffins. The tomb also contained twenty one other coffins containing the remains of twenty-one women. Burial goods included a complete set of banqueting objects and a chamber entirely devoted to a large collection of varied musical instruments, including wind, string, and percussion instruments. The most spectacular of these is a set of 65 tuned bronze bells, hung on racks, meant to be played by five musicians with mallets. Each bell plays two different notes, such that the set is able to sound a total of five octaves. by Anne-Marie Bouché


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Suizhou is a prefecture level city within Hubei province in China.