Hattori's whimsical, humorous image is an imaginative and modern interpretation of the bonsai theme. Born in Tokyo and educated at Tama Art University, Hattori now resides in Hyogo Prefecture.
Fish are a recurring motif in the arts of Japan, appreciated for their aesthetic and symbolic as well as their epicurean worth. Traditionally the fish has been employed as a symbol of wealth and abundance, and diverse types of fish, each with their own symbolism, are used to celebrate specific occasions. Examples of symbolism associated with fish are the motifs of a pair of fish, and a carp. A pair of fish is the symbol of connubial bliss and hence appears often on ceramics, textiles and anything associated with a wedding. The carp, because it swims upstream against the current to lay its eggs, is the symbol of perseverance. Accordingly, on the 5th May each year, for the boys' festival, huge carp made of paper or cloth, are attached to poles outside each household that contains a boy, as an auspicious allusion to this perseverance.
Hattori was inspired to do this print after musing if there could be such a tree as a fish plant. In her use of bright colours and fairy-tale characters she seems to be drawing on the popular culture of children's books, cartoons and the mass marketing of the cute ('kawai'), to create her delightful equivalent of a money tree.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 32.
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
60.0 x 80.0 cm image; 65.0 x 85.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "Kumiko". Not dated.
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed River Regional Art Gallery 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, cover (colour illus.), 32, 38 (colour illus.). cat.no. 14