A Shoal of Fishes Series of 20 #6 Tobiuo & Isimochi (flying fish & white croaker)

Title: A Shoal of Fishes series of 20
#6 Tobiuo & Isimochi (flying fish & white croaker)
Creator: Hiroshige, Ando
Culture: Japanese
Work Type: color woodcut
Date: 1840
Material: ink on paper
Measurements: Image: 26 x 36 cm
Repository: Wetmore Print Collection, Art History Dept, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London
Donated by Prof. Caroline Black, Botany Dept, Connecticut College

Description: Starting from the bottom, this print depicts a white croaker, a red hibiscus flower, a flying fish as well as 3 red seals in the bottom left corner and a poem in the top right corner. The predominant color in this print is blue. Hiroshige implements a gradient of blue starting from an indigo blue at the top of the piece which fades into a pale yellow and returns to a softer light blue. This lighter blue color represents the Pacific Ocean since both fish live in saltwater. Flying fish are also a major dried product in Edo Japan which emphasizes its role in the advancement of Japan’s economy as well as a source of sustenance for society. Similar to the background, the flying fish also has a gradient of Prussian blue which is an expensive material that further demonstrates the role of fish in aggrandizing Japan’s economy during the Edo Period. The red hibiscus flower adds contrast to the primarily blue print. The red flower is placed in between both fish which magnifies the fish’s natural beauty. White croaker is a common smoked fish and the word Katsuobushi meaning smoked fish is derived from the Japanese word Katsuo meaning fish bringing victory. By having multiple fish Hiroshige evokes the idea of the ocean’s fertility which reflects the economic wealth water has brought to Japan through the trade of fish.

HIROSHIGE, Ando, Japanese, 1797-1858. A Shoal of Fishes series of 20, #6 TOBIUO & ISHIMOCHI (flying fish & white croaker). 1840. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/CONNASIAN_106310616924
Johnston, Richard S., and Ann L. Shriver. History of Fish Marketing and Trade with Particular Reference to Japan, International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, 2001., http://hdl.handle.net/1957/35421.

Author: Sofia Di Scipio

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