Friday 12 February 2021

the one that got away

Via our peripatetic companion, Things Magazine, we learn about a centuries’ old Japanese method that fishermen used as a means of recordkeeping for logging their catch that is still employed though somewhat rarefied as an art form. ้ญšๆ‹“ (gyotaku, from fish + [stone] impression) is a printmaking technique which renders caught subjects as printing plates, brushing them with ink and carefully pressing a rice paper sheet over it. Details about the fish species, location and other conditions were captioned with the image along with an authenticating, notarising seal and traditionally a few gyotaku exemplars were prepared and dispatched to sellers as way of evaluating the quality of the harvest, which could also be thought of a regulatory measure to “brand” stocks and mitigate over-fishing. The detail transferred in the anatomy of aquaculture represents one of the first large scale nature studies.