Engraved Edo Period 1.9 Shakuhachi

Added 3/11/18:  A very old, unique, 1.9 Edo period shakuachi, measuring 58cm. Roughly, I am guessing this flute dates back to the early 1800’s based on the patina and certain traits in the bamboo.

There are many things to love about this flute: The upper portion is completely enraved, around the entire circumference, with an additional kanji carved into the root-end. The exterior was hand-shaved to the smoothest, silkiest feeling bamboo I have held. It has a wonderful patina, and a nice, flowing curve along the length of the flute. The bore appears entirely original.

Most importantly, and unlike many Edo period instruments, it is an effortless player with easy voicing well into upper dai kan. Tuning is very good with the period slightly sharp chi (and easily compensated for). Intonation is excellent.

For a flute that is 200-250 years old, it is in great condition, with a couple of the usual hairline surface cracks, especially common for bamboo that has been shaved. These are surface-only and appear to have been present for much of the life of the flute. Specifically, note the image of the thumb hole–that small sliver of missing bamboo looks to have occurred during the making process, as the hole was being carved out. I have played this flute for a year, with no issues, so I don’t really recommend doing any bindings unless and until something changes, which is unlikely with proper humidification and care of an instrument this age.

I do not have a translation for the engraving, unfortunately. It is very well done and could likely be translated by someone skilled in the older, Japanese calligraphy. If you buy this flute, and are able to have it translated, please let me know what it says!

This a wonderful piece of history, and a fine-playing instrument, with classic, introspective, Edo tone. As with many shakuhachi of this era, it likes to be played somewhat softly, and in a slight meri position, to yield the intimate beauty for which it was created, and utilized, as a meditative tool.

A very nice silk-lined leather (real) shakuhachi bag and leather utaguchi cap are included.