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Asian Art
Artist: Maruyama Ōbun, 1833–1887

Carp Swiming Towards Us


Hanging scroll, ink and light color on silk

with mounting: 69 1/8 × 11 3/4 in. (175.5 × 29.8 cm)
without mounting: 39 15/16 × 10 7/8 in. (101.5 × 27.6 cm)
with rollers: 13 9/16 in. (34.5 cm)
Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton R. Longhi, B.A. 1967
Considered to be the fifth head of the Maruyama line of painters, Maruyama Ōbun was known for his landscapes and kachōga (flower-and-bird paintings) painted in a naturalistic manner. His creativity and skill are evident in this unusual painting of a black carp swimming straight at the viewer. Traditional renderings of fish are usually shown from a side-view perspective, swimming across or up the picture plane, or from a bird’s-eye-view of the water. However, the decision to show the carp facing the audience gives the image a confrontational edge. Unlike the colorful carp that were beginning to be selectively bred in nineteenth century, this carp appears to be an ordinary black magoi carp.
Edo period (1615–1868)

Leighton R. Longhi, and Rosemarie Longhi, New York; gift in 2009 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


“Acquisitions 2009,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2009): 152.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.