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Leaping Carp

Accession Number
1987/2.16

Title
Leaping Carp

Artist(s)
Tsukioka Settei

Object Creation Date
18th century

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on silk

Dimensions
( )

Credit Line
Gift from the Estate of Frances Eileen Lay

Label copy
Japan, 1710–1787
Leaping Carp
Edo period (1615–1868)
18 th century
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
Gift from the Estate of Frances Eileen Lay, 1987/2.16
Tsukioka Settei was a prolific painter and book illustrator active in the area
around Osaka, the center of commercial activities in Edo-period Japan. The
leaping carp in this picture has a special meaning in Japanese culture: Since only
the strongest carp can leap over small waterfalls to spawn, it was adopted as a
symbol for healthy and successful boys. The robust body of the fish in the scroll
is thus a visual metaphor for a well-developed boy. The carp is often displayed in
the form of flags on what was originally called Boy’s Day (May 5; now Children’s
Day)—an occasion to celebrate children’s happiness and express gratitude
towards parents.

Subject matter
The leaping carp in this picture has a special meaning in Japan. Since only the strong carp can leap over small waterfalls to spawn, it was adopted as a symbol for healthy and successful boys. The robust body of the fish in the scroll is therefore a visual metaphor, equivalent to the depiction of a well-developed boy.

Physical Description
There is a carp leaping out of a body of water. The front half of its body if in the air while the bottom half is still submerged in water. Ripples and mini waves are shown where the carp is emerging from the water. The water and sky have a reddish hue to it, there are a couple splashes of blue where the waves are. In the bottom right corner of the painting, there is a signature and two seals of the artist.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
bodies of water (natural)
calligraphy
calligraphy (visual works)
carp

3 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)
Silk
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted