Very happy with yourself (and with your latest purchase) you go back to the hotel to try out your new toy. You look at the manual, cover all holes and blow… Nothing! Seriously nothing! Not even squeaky whistle comes from the flute. What the hell?! You blow in it from every possible angle for like half an hour. It’s pointless. You have no idea what kind of magic did the shop owner use to draw a sound from this object. Completely resigned you turn to internet sources to, find out at least, what is that you’ve bought.
Google, helpful as always, provides you with some clues. It appears that your mysterious object is called xun (埙). It is a traditional Chinese flute that has been in use for approximately seven thousand years. It’s also one of the basic instruments in Taoist music. It’s usually made of clay and contain from three to seven finger holes in the front and two thumb holes in the back.
Xun, contrary to other flutes or ocarinas, doesn’t have a mouthpiece. That’s why it’s so damn difficult to make a sound with it. Playing it isn’t intuitive. So how to do it? Put the rim of the blowing hole to your lower lip. Your chin should touch the instrument. Now blow. Is it working? For a beginner, probably in 50% of trials. What can I say - it requires some practice.
Either way, I strongly recommend buying it as a souvenir. It would be something different from the stuff people usually bring back from China. It can also make wonderful source of fun during family meetings or parties with friends. Imagine, you proudly present your souvenir to your company and innocently encourage them to play it. You can even place bets weather or not they’ll be able to do it ;o)
Have a nice fun!