hb_47.18.10_av1.jpg

The Pleasures of Fishes
Zhou Dongqing, active late 13th century, China
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), dated 1291
Handscroll; ink and color on paper

Zhou's painting was inspired by a passage from the Daoist classic Zhuangzi (ca. fourth century B.C.), in which Zhuangzi, strolling along a river, observes, "See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That's what fish really enjoy!" His companion Huizi remarks, "You're not a fish—how do you know what fish enjoy?" Zhuangzi replies, "You are not I, so how do you know I don't know what fish enjoy?"*

*The Metropolitan Museum of Art