David C. Graham Collection
Maxey Catalog Number
WHIT-G-0040 a,b, c
Two wooden bells and a mallet, bells also called fishheads. Mallet (40 A) small oval head with long narrow handle made of wood. used to strike fish head bells or drums. Small fishhead (40 b) hollow bell shape with slit on the bottom, carved on top and sides. Large fishhead (40 c) same as b, but bigger with written characters on front and back. Used in Buddhist worship. Of Buddhist origin, wooden fish is used during worship in both Buddhist and Taoist temples. Also called fish-head. The name derives from a tradition that says the first Buddhist Scriptures were lost in a river and swallowed by a fish. At the word of the oracle, the people caught the fish and beat it on the head with a club: for each stroke the fish gave back one word until all the scriptures were revealed. In memory of this, the wooden fish is beaten once for every word in the scripture that is chanted. Qing Dynasty 1644-1911.
Number of Artifacts
Dr. David Crockett Graham
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