The eight trigrams consisting of different combinations of broken and solid lines surrounding the symbol of Ta’i Chi (the supreme ultimate; yin & yang) is called a ba-gua. The eight trigrams symbolize all in the natural world: heaven, lake, fire, thunder, wind, water, mountain, and earth (characters read from left to right on both sides of the ba-gua).
The ba-gua is more than a good luck charm to hang on a wall at home. It is a succinct expression of Taoist cosmology:
“Tao gave birth to one,
One gave birth to two,
Two gave birth to three,
Three gave birth to the ten thousand things.”
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42)
This composition is an artistic expression of those ancient Chinese writings. The character on the top is Tao – timeless in its existence. The two gyotaku are of the left and right (yin and yang) sides of a 26 inch-long carp from the Platte River of Nebraska and represent the harmonization of one side with the other. The harmonization of yin and yang naturally begets completeness in life. It is little wonder that in China, a pair of carp is a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
Size: 58 x 31 inches; hung with paper-covered fabric loops from bamboo poles (1999)
Return to Gallery 1.