Mokugyo (made up from the Chinese characters for wood 木 and fish 魚) are decorative temple gongs made of hollow wood and carved in the shape of a fish.
The resulting percussion instrument is struck with a padded club and is used in Buddhist temples in Japan, Korea and China to signal the start and end of meditation sessions as well as to beat out the rhythm for the chanting of sutras at Buddhist services and funerals.
Japanese cypress (hinoki) or camphor tree wood (kusunoki) is often used for these fish gongs which can be plain or lacquered red.
The fish is an important symbol in Zen Buddhism, since fish never sleep and are forever aware and watchful.
GoodsFromJapan offers antique fish drums or mokugyo
Tuesday, December 20, 2005