A Glossary of Ch'in Parts
For more information, see R. H. Van Gulik, The Lore of the Chinese Lute, p. 101, for the chapter called "The Symbolism of Terms and Names". Left to right, we give, Wade-Giles, [Pinyin], Chinese characters, and an English explanation, sometimes with a short English name equivalent. Three figures, top, bottom, and inside are given below with labels. These figures originally came from the text, and have been digitally touched up.
The ch’in terms are grouped with the figures, but are in no particular order. Not all terms are shown in the figures.
Figure 1. Ch’in top
[yue-shan ] 岳山
2. Lung-yin [long-yin] 龍齦 Dragon's gums, the lesser bridge or nut at the opposite end of the ch'in from the bridge.
3. Hui [hui] 徽 Studs, referred to as hui. These are made of mother of pearl and are placed outside the first string marking harmonic node positions on the strings. There are 13 hui, numbered from 1 on the right to number 13 on the left.
4. Ch'eng-lu [cheng-lu] 承露 Dew-receptor, a piece of wood that may or may
not be connected to the bridge, behind it, and slightly raised from the face. The string eyes (holes) are put in it.
5. E (e) 額 “forehead”. The forehead is the part of the ch’in beyond the ch’eng-lu away from the playing area. From the player’s point of view, it is on the right-hand side of the bridge/ch’eng-lu.
6. Ch'i-hsiang [qi-xiang] 起項 Beginning of nape. Between the bridge and neck.
7. Ching [jing] 頸 Neck. See Figure 1.
8. Chien [jian] 肩 Shoulders. See Figure 1.
10. Kuan-chueh [guan jue] 冠角 Cap corner. We might call this the "cap". This is a term referring to the tail portion of a ch'in, that includes the nut. The added wooden pieces (if present) can look like the corners of an old-style mandarin cap. The ch’in in Figure 1 does not have a full “cap”, only the nut itself.
11. Yin-kou [yin-kou] 齦口 Gum's mouth, referred to as the nut's mouth. This
is the indentation in the nut which receives the strings.
12. Hsiung [xiong] 胸 Chest.
Figure 2. Ch’in bottom
13. Lung-ch'ih [long-chi] 龍池 Dragon pool . This is the larger sound hole on the back.
15. Han [han] 頷 Chin. This area is presumably above the “crop” (su) and close to the fu-chang (see below).
16. Fu-chang [fu-zhang] 鳧掌 Wild duck feet. These are also called hu-chen [hu-zhen] 護軫, peg protectors, in other ch'in handbooks. They are near the string pegs on the underside of the ch'in, not far from the bridge.
17. Su [su] 嗉 Birdcrop. Refers to the area between the hu-chen legs. There is sometimes a concave depression there.
18. Yen-tzu [yan-zu] 雁足 Wild geese feet. These hold the ch'in up and the strings are also wrapped around them. They are not far from the nut.
19. Chen [zhen] 軫 pegs. These are the tuning pegs, on the bottom. The jung-k’ou go through them.
20. Yin-t'o [yin-tuo] 齦託 Gum receptor. This is the nut made out of hard wood that is put on the bottom board and channels the strings along to the wild geese feet.
21. Chen-ch'ih-ti [zhen-chi-di] 軫池底 Peg pool back. This is the piece of hardwood stuck into the bottom board underneath the tuning pegs. It serves to protect the bottom from the pegs. It may also be called "peg pool".
Figure 3. Ch’in insides
22. Han-hsuan [han-xuan]含絃 String containers. This is a term for the groove or large slot cut in the tail or nut end of the ch'in that holds the strings. It is a uniform groove cut in the top and bottom boards (on the edge). The nut is above it and the yin-t'o is below.
23. Jung-k'ou [rong-kou] 絨扣 Yarn fastener or cord. These are small cords or ropes made of several strands of yarn that are twisted together. They go through the pegs and the body, coming out of the string eyes (holes) on the ch'eng-lu, extending up to the bridge, where they hold the strings. The strings have a “bow-tie” knot tied on one end, and this is put through one end of the Jung-k'ou.
24. Ying-t’ou [ying-tou] 蠅頭 Fly’s head. This colorful expression refers to the little “bow-tie” knots put on a ch’in string. The string is threaded through the Yarn fasteners to hold it at the bridge end.
25. Na-yin [na-yin] 納音 Sound retainers. There are two of these "sound retainers".
One is in the pond and one is in the pool. They are pieces of wood left when the top is carved out and serve to hold sound back, so that the sound is not too empty.
27. Tz’u-ch’ih [zu-chi] 足池 Foot pools. These are spaces left inside the ch’in for the wild-geese feet.
28. T’ien-ju [tian-zhu] 天柱 Heaven’s pillar. One of two “pillars” used inside the ch’in, possibly for both structural rigidity and for acoustic reasons. The pillars connect the top board to the bottom board. The pillar of heaven is round.
29. Ti-ju [di-zhu] 地柱 Earth’s pillar. The other pillar used inside the ch’in. The pillar of earth is square.
30. Rims around the mouths of the pond and pool may exist and have much the same function as the na-yin. They have no name.