by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu
OXFORD, England, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Holding high a sanxian, the three-stringed plucked lute, in his hand, British student Mike Skelton on Sunday night explained to a full house of more than 400 audience that the Chinese musical instrument was brought into existence nearly 2,000 years ago.
At the request of a hostess, Mike plucked the traditional instrument, and a flow of percussive tone was produced from the long-necked fretless lute. It has a long fingerboard, and the body is traditionally made from snakeskin stretched over a rounded rectangular resonator.
His presentation was part of the gala performance at Oxford University to hail the upcoming lunar Chinese New Year, which, known as the Year of the Dog, begins on Feb. 16, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
Mike and his three fellow Britons, all non-Chinese students from the University of London who played hulusi flute, a free reed wind instrument from China, Chinese bamboo flute and a big Chinese drum for the party to welcome the Chinese New Year.
They performed the music from north China's Inner Mongolia and folk songs from Shaanxi Province in northwest China, and won excited applause at the packed Town Hall in central Oxford city, which is located in southeast England and some 80 kilometers away from London.
In the Town Hall, the stage and hallway were decorated with red Chinese lanterns, the Chinese characters meaning "Luck" or "Happiness", and Spring Festi金沙彩票val couplets.
Many smiling Chinese and British people, most of whom were dressed in their holiday best, took photos before the Spring Festival couplets ahead of the start of the performance.
The gala show also featured a group of young Chinese and British children in their first class to learn Chinese classic books of Confucianism.
However, it was not all about something ancient and something Chinese. For instance, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were also used to illuminate beautiful costumes of Chinese dancers in the ballet Lake Swan, which is one of the most famous and loved of all ballets in the world.
Among the audience were Rebecca Surender, pro vice-chancellor of Oxford University and Xia Jianhui, an education counsellor from the Chinese Embassy in London.
Standing on the stage decorated with red Chinese lanterns, Surender said that Oxford University is proud of having the first Chinese student on the campus more than 400 years ago.
Meanwhile, she also voiced the hope that her university will have closer cooperation with China.
At present, more than 1,000 Chinese students are studying at the world-famous higher education institution.
Both British and Chinese governments pledged to further expand cooperation in such fields as education and culture during the visit to the United Kingdom by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong in December 2017 and the China tour from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 by British Prime Minister Theresa May, her first official China trip since she took office in 2016.