Two carp among waves

Accession Number

Two carp among waves

Kanō School

Object Creation Date
17th century

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink on paper

12 3/8 in x 18 13/16 in (31.43 cm x 47.78 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Subject matter
In Japan, images of carp among waves represent strength and perserverence, as the fish are known to swim upstream and are generally associated with the calendric festival on the fifth day of the fifth month.  More specifically, it is an adaption of a Chinese motif depicting carp of the Yellow River attempting to jump over the Longmen Falls, as the fish that were successful were thought to turn into dragons. In China, this imagery was specifically associated with success on the civil service examinations. While it seems that in Japan images of carp did not have this specific association, the monochromatic "Chinese-style" (kara-e) mode used in this work suggests a broader association with continental Asia. 

Physical Description
This hanging scroll depicts two carp among waves using light ink washes. It demonstrates the Kanō painters' interest in naturalistic depiction of flowers, birds and animals.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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hanging scroll
hanging scrolls
ink painting
ink wash paintings
waves (natural events)

3 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)

& Author Notes

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