We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Fish plant



Kumiko Hattori


1960 –

No image
  • Details

    Alternative title
    Place where the work was made
    Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
    Media category
    Materials used
    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
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Kumiko Hattori

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • The Urban Bonsai, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992

      The Urban Bonsai, National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington, 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992

      The Urban Bonsai, Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch, 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992

      The Urban Bonsai, Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand, 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993

      The Urban Bonsai, The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993

      The Urban Bonsai, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993

      The Urban Bonsai, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994

      The Urban Bonsai, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra, 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994

      The Urban Bonsai, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994

      The Urban Bonsai, Bank Art Museum Moree, Moree, 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994

      The Urban Bonsai, Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah, 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication