Aug 15, 2018
May 23, 2007

Gift Cover (Fukusa) with Carp in Waves

Gift Cover (Fukusa) with Carp in Waves



Silk: embroidered; metallic thread

Overall: 87.3 x 71.8 cm (34 3/8 x 28 1/4 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1324



The motif of carp in rough water originated in China. The expression “carp jumping over the Dragon Gate” (liyu tiao longmen) refers to attaining success in life, or, historically, to passing the imperial examinations for civil service. Dragon Gate is a steep gorge of the Yellow River at Hejing in Shanxi province, and it was once said that if a carp swimming upstream could surmount the gorge, it would instantly transform into a dragon and fly into the sky. In Japan, therefore, a gift cover (fukusa) like this would have been appropriate to celebrate the recipient’s achievements.

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