Playing the flute on an ox
Date: Late eighteen to nineteenth century
Dimensions: (H) 4 x (W) 2.6 x (D) 3.5 cm
Playing a flute on an ox is a common subject in Zen Buddhism. Balanced and composed atop the vehicle of the ox without reigns or saddles and sounding mellifluous music was seen as a metaphor for Buddhism itself. A consonant relationship that leads towards the path of enlightenment. The cord around the bull’s head is carved in relief, whilst the cavity in the pail hanging on the man’s back lends the piece a playful dimension.