Large black carp amidst vegetation; poems by Rokugōen Masuo, Rokkaen Rakugan, and Rokuchōen. Signed Gakutei with Yashima artist's seal in red oval.
Gakutei, a student of both Katsushika Hokusai and Totoya Hokkei, was renowned for his highly technical designs, especially his incorporation of metallic inks and embossing. This surimono was commissioned as part of a pair, or possibly a set of three — another design features a red carp — and is typical of his output with its refined details in the face and scales of the fish, the bokashi (gradient) printing used to create depth in the background and to impart volume to the carp itself, and the artful arrangement of calligraphic verse and stylized seaweed, both of which are printed with metallic ink. Though now oxidized, these details would have originally glittered against the dark background, appearing almost as gold dust.
- BB, ed., 2015
Published together with a print of a red carp swimming up a waterfall (hence the title assigned here). This print has occasionally been dated as early as ca. 1825. The red carp that is this surimono's "partner" is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: acc. no. JP2374, and is part of an album of Gakutei surimono. - BB, 2014
fish; water; calligraphy
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