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"The Fish" (or "The Fish and Flowering Branch") window

John La Fargeabout 1890

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In this window East meets West, as La Farge adapted a common Japanese motif to the Western medium of stained glass. In Japan carp, or koi, symbolized blessings such as sustenance, vigor and endurance, and wealth. For centuries rural Japanese enjoyed wild carp as nutritious food. In the early 1800s, however, farmers started breeding colorful varieties as pets. Keeping carp became a popular craze in Japan and created a market in which the most colorful fish were extremely expensive.

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