Water Revered

Part of the Water: H2O = Life exhibition.

Japanese art: carp; by Taito. Woodcut, 1848.
The Granger Collection, New York

Water is more than a liquid that quenches thirst, nourishes all life, and shapes our planet. Water inspires the human spirit and the imagination. In various ways, all the world's religions recognize water's sacred importance. In some traditions, water itself is worshipped as a god. Others see a role for water in rituals of purification, or honor its life-giving powers. And in arts, both sacred and secular, water inspires expressions of reverence and celebration.

"Hail flood! emerging from the earth, arriving to bring Egypt to life. . ."
 -Ancient Egyptian hymn to the Nile River flood

"All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again."
 --The Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:7

Claude Monet: Waterlilies. Oil on canvas.
The Granger Collection, New York

"The highest good is like water. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. It flows in places men reject and so it is like the Tao."
 --Chapter 8, Tao Te Ching

"The waters listen as they flow along: they know the origin of heaven and earth."
 --the Hindu sacred text Rig Veda, Book 7, Hymn 34

"And God sends down water from the skies, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless"
 --the Qur'an, 16:65

"Sometimes men need the winds most,
 at other times
 waters from the sky,
 rainy descendants of the cloud. . ."
 --Ancient Greek poet Pindar (522?-438? BC), Olympian 11

Claude Monet: Seine. Oil on canvas, 1879.
The Granger Collection, New York

"The river was swirling past in the darkness; they could just distinguish the smooth moving surface of the water, and the air was full of the sound of it."
 --British author Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, 1915

"Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever."
 --American author Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851

"The stone in the water does not comprehend how parched the hill is."
 --traditional West African saying (Hausa language)

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
 It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. . ."
 --William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1590s

Edward Hopper: Rooms by the Sea. Oil on canvas, 1951.
The Granger Collection, New York

Locks, Paul Klee, 1922

Seine in Vetheuil, Effect of Sun After Rain, Claude Monet, 1879

Two Boys Rowing, Winslow Homer (1836-1910)

Water Lilies, Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Rooms by the Sea, Edward Hopper, 1951

Woodcut with carp, Taito, 1848