Leaping Carp



Liu Jie 劉節

(Chinese, c. 1447–1520s)
Image: 140.5 x 83.7 cm (55 5/16 x 32 15/16 in.); Overall: 226 x 101.2 cm (89 x 39 13/16 in.); with knobs: 226 x 109.5 cm (89 x 43 1/8 in.)
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

The clusters of geometric leaves painted with mineral pigments are likely water caltrap.


With a fine ink line and graded wash, the life-like depiction of these swiftly moving carp is representative of the high quality of works by Liu Jie, a Ming dynasty court painter known for his fish paintings. The artist’s signature and seal are in the painting’s top left corner.

The carp is an auspicious and popular subject in Chinese painting. Here, the leaping carp can be associated with “a carp jumping the dragon gate,” which according to mythology transforms into a dragon, emblematic of a scholar’s success in passing the civil service examinations. Another reading suggests that this carp is not leaping but guiding his offspring in worshipping heaven.
Leaping Carp

Leaping Carp


Liu Jie

(Chinese, c. 1447–1520s)
China, Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.