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How big was that fish you caught?
This big?
This big?
This big?
Without photographic evidence,
there's nothing that proves you caught a whopper,
and that's been true since the dawn of fishing.
In fact, hundreds of years ago,
long before photography could capture the moment,
Japanese fishermen invented their own way
to record trophy catches.
They called it Gyotaku.
Gyotaku is the ancient art of printing fish
that originated in Japan
as a way to record trophy catches
prior to the modern day camera.
Gyo means fish
and taku means impression.
There are several different stories about
how Gyotaku came about,
but it basically started with fishermen
needing a way to record the species and size
of the fish they caught over 100 years ago.
Fishermen took paper, ink, and brushes
out to sea with them.
They told stories of great adventures at sea.
Since the Japanese revered certain fish,
the fishermen would take a rubbing from these fish
and release them.
To make the rubbing,
they would paint the fish with non-toxic sumi-e ink
and print them on rice paper.
This way they could be released
or cleaned and sold at market.
The first prints like this were for records only
with no extra details.
It wasn't until the mid 1800's
that they began painting eye details
and other embellishments onto the prints.
One famous nobleman, Lord Sakai, was an avid fisherman,
and, when he made a large catch,
he wanted to preserve the memory
of the large, red sea bream.
To do so, he commissioned a fisherman to print his catch.
After this, many fisherman would bring
their Gyotaku prints to Lord Sakai,
and if he liked their work,
he would hire them to print for him.
Many prints hung in the palace during the Edo period.
After this period, Gyotaku was not as popular
and began to fade away.
Today, Gyotaku has become a popular art form,
enjoyed by many.
And the prints are said to bring good luck to the fishermen.
But the art form is quite different than it used to be.
Most artists today learn on their own by trial and error.
Before the artist begins to print,
the fish needs to be prepared for printing.
First, the artist places the fish
on a hollowed out surface.
Then the artist spreads the fins out
and pins them down on the board to dry.
They then clean the fish with water.
When it comes time to print,
there are two different methods.
The indirect method begins with pasting moist fabric or paper
onto the fish using rice paste.
Then, the artist uses a tompo,
or a cotton ball covered in silk,
to put ink on the fabric or paper to produce the print.
This method requires more skill
and great care needs to be taken
when pulling the paper off the fish
so the paper doesn't tear.
In the direct method,
the artist paints directly on the fish,
and then gently presses the moist fabric or paper into the fish.
With both of these methods,
no two prints are exactly alike,
but both reveal dramatic images of the fish.
For the final touch,
the artist uses a chop, or a stamp,
and signs their work,
and can hold it up to say,
"The fish was exactly this big!"


【TED-Ed】魚拓-日本傳統藝術 (Gyotaku: The ancient Japanese art of printing fish - K. Erica Dodge)

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VoiceTube 發佈於 2013 年 6 月 13 日
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