Listening to the Zither

Li, Duan  (? A.D.-785? A.D.)

The pegs of the zither being played are made of laurel wood.
Her bare hands dance above its jade chamber 1.
In order to win Mr. Zhou's 2 glance,
She makes frequent mistakes on purpose.

1 A jade chamber is an empty box under the strings of a zither. The top of the box has an opening to enrich the tone of the instrument.

2 Mr. Zhou refers to any handsome young man who masters music. The essay "the Biography of Yu Zhou" in the volume titled "the History of Country Wu" in the work the History of Three Kingdoms says, "When Yu Zhou became the Commander-in-chief, he was only twenty-four years old. His countrymen called him Mr. Zhou. He also mastered music. When he listened to a zither, he could immediately detect the slightest error made by the performer. Then Mr. Zhou would turn and look at him or her. There was a saying to confirm this, 'If there is a mistake made by a zither player, Mr. Zhou will look at him or her.'"