Hushtar stringed musical instrument

Source: Global Times [17:11 March 17 2011]

This is a hushtar, a traditional Uyghur stringed musical instrument.

Music has always been a significant element of Central Asian culture in what is now Xinjiang even before the Uyghur migration into Xinjiang from Mongolia began in earnest in the ninth century. Since ancient times, the most popular music in the Chinese Imperial Court was from Central Asia, along the ancient Silk Road. Several of the best-known traditional Chinese musical instruments, particularly stringed instruments, originated in Central Asia.

The oasis Hotan is the site of ancient human settlement for more than 9,000 years. The Kingdom of Khotan was founded by immigrants (ruling an indigenous population) who came from what is now India and Pakistan in about 250 BCE, both physically and chronologically near the events that marked the opening of the Silk Road. Through these same routes, Buddhism moved north and from here into China and, at its peak, Hotan boasted more than 5,000 temples and monasteries.