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Antique Japanese Carved Ritual Instrument
Mokugyo
Wooden Fish Gong

Seal Mark. Circa, early 1900s'

H 9 in.(23cm), W 9 in.(23cm), D 7 in.(18cm)

Condition: very good!

A Mokugyo (Chinese: Wooden Fish) is a musical instrument of Chinese origins, and when struck with a wooden mallet it emits a sharp percussive sound. It is used in meditation rituals in Japan, Korea, China and other Asian countries, particularly those in the tradition of Mayhayana and Zen Buddhism; used to help chant the name of Amitabha Buddha in the former, and to signal the beginning and end of meditation sessions in the latter.


Private Collection

Japanese Mokugyo Wood Gong

Mokugyo are found in various sizes and shapes, ranging from a few inches for private practice, to the largest 3.5 ft. mokugyo located at the Hasedera Temple in Kamakura Japan. This mid size rendition is carved in the traditional design of the mokugyo, with two dragon fish heads and a wisdom pearl to form the handle, a bulbous cavity comprises the sounding block, the instrument is hollowed with a cavity ridge around the base, and the motif is rendered in perfect symmetry with deeply carved fish scales on two sides. Aged with an attractive rich wood tone, this antique mokugyo has a few mallet strike marks from usage in the past, but otherwise the piece is in excellent condition.

  
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