ANIMAL ART OF THE DAY: a punny shower

Niwaka amenbō (A Shower of Water Striders), c. 1842,
from the series Kingyō zukushi (A Set of Goldfish)
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 – 1861)
Japan, Edo Period
color woodcut
Philadelphia Museum of Art

(photo by author)

This is from a series of nine woodcuts depicting humorous scenes of anthropomorphic goldfish, frogs, and turtles. This particular piece is inspired by the pun of its title, playing off the the fact that in Japanese niwaka ame (にわか あめ) means “shower” and amenbo (アメンボ) means “water striders” — hence, here the goldfish characters are depicted caught in a sudden shower of these aquatic insects, famed for their ability to “skate” on the surface of actual water:

actual Japanese water striders (Gerridae spp.)
in a Kawasaki forest park
Photo: Cory, CC BY-SA 2.1 jp,

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