This Japanese Antique Wooden Netsuke in form of Mokugyo fish is an authentic old, netsuke. It dates to the Meiji period. probably to the older part of the 19th-century portion of the Meiji era 1868-1912. It is made in the form of the popular wooden fish drum called Mokugyo by a wood carving artist.
Mokugyo is a wooden percussion instrument. It is hand carved by a netsuke artist. It has natural himotoshi which means instead of adding additional holes the place at the top can be used. Some run a metal rod through it with ojime on each side. The little rock one can see in one picture used to make the sound of the wooden fish as a bell. This one is showing its age but is still in good condition with no cracks or chips. Please add this to your antique netsuke collection. Please see more below for an in-depth discussion about the Mokugyo and its history.
Size: Width 1.0 inch or 2.5 cm, Length 1.2 inches or 3 cm, Height 1.0 inches or 2.5 cm
A wooden fish, also known as a Chinese temple block, Muyu or Mokugyo, is a wooden percussion instrument. The wooden fish is used by monks and laity in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. The wooden fish is mainly used by Buddhist disciples in China, Japan, Korea, and other East Asian countries where the practice of Mahayana, such as the ceremonious reciting of sutras, is prevalent. In most Zen/Ch'an Buddhist traditions, the wooden fish serves to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting. In Pure Land Buddhism, it is used when chanting the name of Amitabha.
Most commonly today, it is the traditional instrument that is round in shape and often made out of wood, but sometimes other materials are used as well; this form is actually a later development from the original. The fish is hollow with a ridge outside of the wooden fish to help provide the genuine hollow sound when striking the fish; the instrument is similarly shaped like a jingle bell. The sound can differ amongst wooden fish depending on the size, type of wood used, and how hollow the wooden fish is.
Wooden fish come in many sizes and shapes, ranging from 150 millimetres or 5.9 inches, for laity use or sole daily practice, or to 1.2 metres or 3.9 feet for usage in temples. Wooden fish are often placed on the left of the altar, alongside a bell bowl, its metal percussion counterpart. Wooden fish often rest on a small embroidered cushion.
The original type of wooden fish is literally in the shape of a fish. Along with a large temple bell and drum, It is found suspended in front of Buddhist monasteries. When proceeding with various duties (such as eating, lectures, or chores), a monk and a supervisor utilize the instrument to call all monastics to go to their tasks. Historically, this was the first wooden fish developed, which gradually evolved into the round wooden fish used by Buddhists today. One of the most noted examples is at the temple of Manpuku-ji. Many legends describe the origin of the wooden fish, which take place in China. From WIkipedia
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