Gekko Ogata, Wisteria and Carp

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CMSA259
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Original Japanese woodblock print.
gekko ogata, carp, wisteria
gekko ogata, carp, wisteria gekko ogata, carp, wisteria

Artist: Gekko Ogata (1859-1920)
Title: Wisteria and carp
Date: late 19th century
Size: 24.9 x 24 cm
Condition: Colour transferred on the left, bottom and right.

In Japanese belief, dragons are associated with carp fish. Legend says that a carp fish’s ability to swim upstream and over waterfalls without ever giving up in the face of adversity brought with it admiration from the gods who have granted the carp eternal life as dragons. A wisteria tree is depicted on the top, symbolising late spring, as it usually blossoms around the months of April and May.

Gekko Ogata


Within the genre of Japanese art, Gekko Ogata worked as a decorator of lacquer wares and pottery, as well as an illustrator for books and newspapers. These experiences made him a versatile artist and helped him develop his own style when he turned to printmaking. It is often pointed out that the uniqueness of his style might have caused some problems for carvers and printers, as his designs often resembled that of water colour and oil paintings, not the traditional ukiyo-e-style prints in which lines were clear and areas of the same colour were separated. In kacho-e (images of flowers and birds), one of his major subjects, he mastered the art of depicting the details of birds' feathers.

After the Sino-Japanese war erupted, Gekko took up another subject and started creating war prints. As a war correspondent for a newspaper company, he accompanied the troops to the battlefields, made sketches of the battle scenes and turned them into prints back at home in Japan. Gekko favoured a variety of subjects alongside reporting on the war: flowers and birds, landscapes, beauties, animals and family scenes. His print series, 'Beauties at Famous Places', was published in the early 20th century. He was awarded a gold medal at 1904's St Louis World's Fair for selections from his landscape series, 'Gekko's One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji'.

More Information
Print FormatShikishiban
ArtistGekko Ogata
SubjectAnimal & Birds, Flowers & Botanical
Dimensions24.9 x 24 cm
Condition ReportColour transferred on the left, bottom and right.
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