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Fish Printing


Gyotaku, or literally fish (gyo) rubbings (taku), is an oriental art form which uses an actual fish to create an ink image. Gyotaku originated in Japan in the mid 1800's as a way for anglers to record the characteristics and size of their catch. This record is so accurate that prints have been used in present day Japan to determine the winner of fishing contests.


In the western world, gyotaku, more commonly known as fish printing, has been embraced by artists and designers as a unique art medium. The printer can duplicate on paper with exacting detail the color, texture, and shading of an individual fish.

The artist prints from natural objects, usually fish, but also other marine animals. The fish prints are made by applying ink directly on to the body of the specimen, then pressing rice paper or silk to receive the image. Oriental rice papers and other handmade papers have long fibers which allow them to fold around the contours of the fish without tearing. The resulting print is an exact reproduction in a reverse image, so that a right-handed flatfish will print left-handed.

The red seal or Hanko is the traditional signature of the Orient. Often the translation of the artist's name, it can also be interpretive. Karin's seal just means Karin's Fish.

About the Art Form of 
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From boat, to preparation, to printing to adorning the wall.

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