What is the meaning of Gyotaku? Gyo translates as fish. Taku translates as impression or rubbing.
Gyotaku began in Japan during the 1800’s as the method used by fishermen to record the size and species of their prized fish. The fish caught was cleaned on the outside and positioned as it would appear in life. Its detailed image was obtained by carefully pressing rice paper onto the fish which has been covered with relief ink, where the blank eye area remained to be hand painted. Due to the aesthetic quality of the work, Gyotaku developed into an art form.
Fisherman may stretch the truth, but fish prints never lie! In Japan, many fishing contest are dedicated to Gyotaku prints, because photographs do not always express the true size and detail of the fish. Not only do the results represent a beautiful art form, but they are fun and exciting to make.
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