Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mu Yu

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Date:
early 20th century
Geography:
Yunnan Province (south), China
Culture:
Chinese
Medium:
Wood, polychrome
Dimensions:
Overall: H. 24.9 x W. 31.5 x D. 17.8cm (9 13/16 x 12 3/8 x 7in.)
Classification:
Idiophone-Struck-slit drum
Credit Line:
Purchase, Amati Gifts, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.494
Not on view
The fish is a Buddhist symbol of watchfulness, reflecting a belief that the fish never sleeps. This state of wakeful awareness is reinforced by the hollow sound of the muyu, a fish-shaped slit drum used to accompany Buddhist chant. Laid flat and struck on the red circle with a mallet in measured beats, this version, from Yunnan Province, is a less abstract rendering than most temple instruments. The muyu may also be found in vocal and instrumental ensembles of Guangzhou
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