A small figure of a carp. Japan, Edo period, ca. 1700

Modelled as a carp leaping from waves, in a dynamic pose, the tail turned to the side and mouth open, decorated in underglaze blue, with its scales and fins highlighted in gilt and red enamel.

Period :
Edo (1603-1867), ca. 1700
4.52 in. (11.5 cm)
Reference :

Related works

For further examples, see Christiaan J.A. Jörg, Fine and Curious, Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections (Amsterdam, 2003), no. 358 and 359, p. 284.

See also Kimono – Japanese porcelain figures from the Edo period, Jorg Welsh, 2022., p. 154, no. 48.


Japanese porcelain figures of carp (koi) rising from waves were probably inspired by 16th century zoomorphic stoneware Chinese figures. Along with their iconographic form, the symbolic meaning of carp also travelled from China to Japan, where it became associated with longevity, perseverance, faithfulness in marriage and good fortune .  Carp subsequently became a popular motif in Japanese decorative arts, where its symbolic significance prevailed, with one of the most represented designs being the animal arching upwards out of cresting waves. Japanese porcelain models of leaping carp suggest they may have been used as decorative figures, or vases. Models of leaping carp are known to have been made with or without plinths and undulating protuberances simulating waves.

By appointment only, 10th arrondissement, Paris. / +33 (0)6 26 57 59 87

Be the first to hear about the latest pieces, join the email list.