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Fou

Fou

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The fou is an ancient Chinese percussion instrument
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 consisting of a pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 or bronzeware crock, jar, pot, or similar vessel, which was struck with a stick. Its origin dates back to the Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 or Shang
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 dynasties, where it was used in ritual music. It later became a standard instrument in Confucian
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 ritual ensembles.

The fou is an instrument was not confirmed until a discovery of nearly 500 musical instruments in the Tombs for Nobles of the Yue
Yue (state)
Yue was a state in China which existed during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period , in the modern province of Zhejiang. During the Spring and Autumn Period, its capital was in Guiji , near the modern city of Shaoxing...

 State, Wuxi
Wuxi
Wuxi is an old city in Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China. Split in half by Lake Tai, Wuxi borders Changzhou to the west and Suzhou to the east. The northern half looks across to Taizhou across the Yangtze River, while the southern half also borders the province of Zhejiang to the south...

 City, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

 Province. Also found there were nine other varieties of instruments, including the yongzhong (a type of bell) and qing (chime stone) from the Central Plain
Central Plain (China)
Zhongyuan or the Central Plain of China refers to the area on the lower reaches of the Yellow River which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization. It forms part of the North China Plain....

, chunyu (a metal percussion instrument), dingning (a bell with a handle), duo (big bell) and ling (little bell).
It made its modern appearance during the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony
2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony
The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 8, 2008, as 8 is considered to be a lucky number. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture...

 in Beijing. Towards the beginning of the ceremony, 2,008 dancer/percussionists staged a synchronized presentation, striking large square fou with glowing red sticks.photo Those instruments had a white square LED array
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

 surrounding each drum, allowing them all to produce both music and a dazzling display, which included Chinese character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

s and shapes created in tandem.

The Chinese character fou (缶 or 缻) is used to refer to containers. The character has fallen into disuse in Chinese; however, it is still used to refer to cans in Japanese. Since the Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 and Shang
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 dynasties, some types of those containers were used as musical instruments known as "percussion fou" (击缶). Since its publicity, there has been some scholarly disputes on whether the fou used during the Olympics were actually musical instruments, as they could simply have been containers.

In the Confucian ritual music of Korea, a musical instrument made from a clay pot, called the bu (hangul: 부; hanja: 缶), which is derived from the fou, is used.

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