Carp and Waterweeds

Yōgetsu Japanese
Inscribed by Mokumoku Dōjin Japanese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 229

Above the monk-painter Yōgetsu’s auspicious image of a pair of fish swimming in a pond, a little-known person calling himself Mokumoku Dōjin inscribed a poem. It recalls the carp’s role as a vehicle of the Daoist immortal Qingao:

Windwhips the grass along
the riverbank, frigid at dusk.
A single ray of brilliant red
illuminates the white shoal.
If Qingao were here,
he would not be riding a crane—
He’d have [his carp] shaking their heads
and snapping their tails,
spinning waves into whirlpools.
—Translated by Aaron Rio

On view for rotations 1 and 2

Carp and Waterweeds, Yōgetsu (Japanese, active late 15th century), Hanging scroll; ink on silk, Japan

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