A pair of Arita Zoomorphic ewers, Japanese, late 17th Century.

Each of the ewers is modelled in the form of a leaping carp, 19.1cm.

The globular lower section is moulded to represent lotus leaves and foaming water in a touch of artistic license, since the lotus grows only in calm water.

The upper section, which depicts the half-emerged fish, forms the neck of the vessel; the moulded two halves luted vertically.

According to Eastern tradition, carp, whose courage and strength allowed them to leap up waterfalls, were transmuted into dragons, which in East Asia are beneficent, though awesome, spirits.


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