Articulated model carp


British Museum

British Museum

The carp was a favourite fish of Japanese artists and craftsmen. The leaping carp signified perseverance. In recent times it has been associated with Boys' Day (5 May) when carp streamers are flown from tall poles. As they swim through the air, they are a reminder to young boys to face life's hardships bravely.

Articulated iron models like this were probably made as an ornament to be placed in the tokonoma (an alcove in the reception room). This carp was signed by Muneyori, a member of the Myōchin family of armourers. Although these signatures are often similar to the signatures found on armour, it seems that no single maker can be identified who made both armour and models.

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  • Title: Articulated model carp
  • Date Created: 1800/1899
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 44.10cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: inlaid
  • Subject: ornament
  • Registration number: HG.765
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Producer: Made by Myochin Muneyori
  • Period/culture: Edo Period; Meiji Era
  • Material: iron; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Hull Grundy, John. Bequeathed by Hull Grundy, Anne
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