Hanging scroll; ink and light color on silk
Painting: 170 x 33.9 cm (66 15/16 x 13 3/8 in.); Overall with knobs: 234 x 40.1 cm (92 1/8 x 15 13/16 in.)
Gift from the Collection of George Gund III 2015.478
Long-armed gibbons form a chain to reach down from a tree, hoping to touch what they believe is the moon. In fact, the orb remaining beyond their grasp is the full moon’s reflection in the still surface of a pond or lake. The image is a common metaphor for the deluded mind in Buddhist thought. Gibbons do not live in Japan but were known to Japanese painters of the premodern era through paintings brought from China.
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