catfish & the human spirit

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Since del.icio.us has changed up, my link-sharing practices shall have to become a little less superficial. So here is my Delightful Link of the Week: this marvellously curated collection of 19th-century Japanese catfish prints, which I came across via the ever-interesting Frog in the Well. The giant mythical catfish (namazu), thrashing about in its underground lair, was said to be the source of all earthquakes, and the namazu-e (“catfish pictures”) served at once as entertainment (#2), social commentary (#14, #15) and magical talisman (#5). They’re wonderful — darkly & lightly humourous, many resolutely hopeful (#27), forgiving (#8) and even vindicatory (#38) in the face of disaster. Is this one a reference to Sun Wukong, Monkey King? The catfish all look universally mischievous, rather than menacing. These prints are a wonderful testament to human creativity even at moments of great devastation. Peruse, and be edified. (Or is that Edo-fied? sorrysorry).


2 responses to “catfish & the human spirit

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