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Kuniyoshi

Sakata Kaido-maru Wrestling the Giant Carp (1836)

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About the Art

The mighty Kaido-maru grapples with the thrashing carp in a waterfall, as water sprays and crashes around them. 

This is an exquisite piece by Kuniyoshi. His unique approach to portraying water is suggestive of a starry night’s sky, giving the scene its enchanting aura. Take a look at the subtle detailing of the carp: the translucency of its fin and directional movement of its scales. Kuniyoshi depicts the creature as simultaneously delicate and dangerous, showing his mastery in creating complex characters.

The character of Sakata Kaido-maru is based on the Japanese folk hero ‘Kintarō’. His name translates to mean “golden boy”, although he’s usually portrayed in a pink-red colour rather than gold. He’s a child with superhuman strength who holds many animal-like powers. Born in the mountains,Kintarō wasorphaned and raised by a Yamauba - a mountain witch - who was known for eating children. Despite her terrible ways, the Yamauba decided to raiseKintarō as her own.

Kintarō grew in strength as he did in age, so by the age of eight was able to break tree trunks as if they were twigs. As he was raised in the forests, he befriended animals and soon learnt how to communicate with them. Often he wrestled them for sport to develop his fighting skills.

Here, Kintarō wraps his arms around a giant carp, holding it firmly as the Bishamon waterfall pounds down on them. Waterfalls were a common symbol of religion and the supernatural, believed to be the homes of deities and spirits. Many still have dedicated shrines. The character of Kintarō is also still celebrated, usually on ‘Children’s Day’, as he’s believed to bring strength and perseverance.

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    • Arrives ready-to-hang
      • Mounting brackets for framed and canvas prints are included and centered on the frame
    • Premium quality look and feel
      • Every piece is made using the Giclee printing process, the standard for precise prints with stunning colors.
    • Made to last, even in bright/sunny rooms
      • Fade resistant paper and canvas materials, with a matte finish for an authentic look

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