The mythical origins of the Chinese qin have been forged by ancient literature ever since the age of Confucius, nevertheless, very little is known about the morphology of the ancient qin and its embodied symbolism. This article, by analyzing a most recently discovered ancient qin found in a fourth-century b.c.e. tomb in Jiuliandun, Zaoyang city, Hubei province, in 2002, will explore the relief carving and lacquered drawings found on the instrument itself and their symbolic significance as a representation of the worldview and philosophical state of mind of the Warring States period. I will suggest that a qin contemporaneous to Confucius and played by him looks distinctly different from the version produced by the fertile imagination of the medieval Chinese; instead, it was divided into five registers, and it is this segmented subdivision which defines the ancient qin and differentiates it fundamentally from its classical counterpart. Strikingly, the symbolic depictions in which it was clad represent not only the fertile imagination of the Chu aristocracy, but also include portrayal of the more menial tasks of the ordinary Chu farmer and herdsman as he proceeds through the cycle of the agricultural year, and thus provide the modern scholar with an extraordinarily vivid insight into contemporary Chu life.