- Museum number
Colour woodblock print. Two carp leaping up waterfall. Signed.
- Production date
- 1833 (circa)
Height: 68.50 centimetres (Mount)
Height: 52.20 centimetres (Print)
Width: 50.60 centimetres (Mount)
Width: 23.20 centimetres (Print)
- Curator's comments
This is a 'kakemonoe', or print in the form of a hanging scroll. The Chinese legend was that carp which could ascend the Yellow River falls would turn into dragons. In Japan the ascending carp became a symbol of courage and was used especially for Boys' Day (5 May). This print is in Hokusai's 'Chinese' style. The signature is 'The former Hokusai, changing his name to Iitsu'.
The phrase ‘ascending dragon gate’ (tōryūmon) denotes the gateway to success in life. The name comes from a legend about carp gathering below the rapids known as ‘Dragon Gate’ (Chinese: longmen, Japanese: ryūmon) in the upper reaches of the Yellow River in China. Many of the fish cannot continue any further, but if a carp can climb the rapids, it becomes a dragon. Numerous pictures were therefore produced of carp climbing waterfalls, as a way of signifying success in life. This
image may be one of them, but Hokusai’s main focus seems to be not the ascending carp, but rather the one down below looking out at us. The continuity in the treatment of the white spray – at the bottom of the waterfall, on the body of the carp and on the yellowish rocks to the right of the picture – demonstrates the attention to fine detail characteristic of Hokusai.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2014 Oct- 2015 Jan, Reunion des musees nationaux Grand Palais, Hokusai
2017 25 May - 2 July, London, BM, G35, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave
2017 6 Oct - 19 Nov, Osaka, Abeno Harukas Art Museum
2022 16 Apr-12 Jun, Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art, Hokusai from the British Museum
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Boys' Day (5 May)
- Acquisition date
- Registration number