Hirado Dish with Two Carp, One in Relief, anonymous, c. 1800 - c. 1899
The carp is among the best-known Japanese motifs in the West. With their distinctive markings, carp were captive-bred as ornamental fish only in the 19th century; before then they were largely consumed as food. The carp has long been highly valued symbolically. The fish stands for a long and prosperous life and for perseverance in its ability to swim upstream.