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Thread: 'atmosphere' not the look

  1. #1
    Oyagoi mrbradleybradley's Avatar
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    'atmosphere' not the look

    Some koi, for a newbie and some oldies are fairly easy to pick and place into a variety classification. Easy? Well, so long as the koi has all the right patten placement and it fits textbook well.

    However, some koi can have the look of other varieties. In my experience, showa and sanke is one of the most confused types. Having bred my share of sanke, I can readily see why this is possible. So many sanke culls have sumi on the head, below the lateral line, thick huge, overwhelming blocks and have sumi that runs from the head to the tail. First timers, when understanding sanke can so easily look and think they see a showa as they see a look that somehow could be a showa with some elements of sanke mixed in. It is confusing.

    'atmosphere' is different. At it's foundation it does rely on the look (the placement of pattern). I regard atmosphere as how the koi feels to have the character of a variety or other varieties. I have been spending some time in the study of pattern recognition as a part of expanding my experience in picking through young culls. Anyone who has bred, will know that pattern recognition is not how it is done. It is a guide and a foundation, but there is something more in looking into the atmosphere of the baby koi, that allows the eye to see beyond the young developing & incomplete pattern. It needs to be this way as a koi at 60 days is an incomplete mix of developing colour, skin, body and pattern. The skill learnt is one of recognising the atmosphere of what is before you - you'll see something of the lineage and something of where the koi is going. Atmosphere is more than pattern, incomplete or complete. Atmosphere is the whole koi combined; made up all of the character elements, colour, pattern, body type, and scale/skin type. When I look into the cull, I can feel the different parts and how they relate and sum the whole.

    For me, I need to look close into the atmosphere as I trial through spawns of karasu clan crosses and koi to carp experiments. For fun. I thought it good to post a photo of this koi, now around 4 months old. Can you see past the pattern and discover the atmosphere? What variety/s can you see. This is not a show koi, but rather a transition koi in a line I am working - so no need to focus on what it is, but where it has been, or where it is going.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 'atmosphere' not the look-koi.jpg  

  2. #2
    Daihonmei
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    Absolutely! Well done!

    atmosphere is a very hard thing to get one's head around. But when you see it, you see it. Sometimes it is the tone of colors or the suggestion of a pattern.
    An atmosphere of quality is another one of those tricky things that often push back against the classic description of a standard ( which is more like a check list).

    here's something that every budding hobbyist should try and embrace- a koi's pattern is often seen as an area of color different than the base color. But the Japanese expert sees the pattern as a plate of color. This is the right vision as the pattern or plate is a solid mass of color. If it is drifting or breaking up, it is a weak plate. In addition, color plates come in a large ( but not endless) number of fixed recognizable patterns. these are typically piebald patterns . Not always as some are simply the separate of ventral/abdominal coloring from dorsal coloring, but for the gosanke and several other varieties we are talking about piebald patterns made into color plates. JR

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    atmosphere--

    if you see enough koi, the notion of atmosphere begins to come to the surface ( no pun intended!).

    This is a very helpful skill to both Judges and exhibitors ( and also amateur breeders at culling time) as a sense of atmosphere can operate on two levels.
    the first level- is to sense which of the genes a fish is most strongly expressing. Very helpful when looking at an individual which is part showa and part sanke, for instance. It is very tempting at that moment to begin counting up the characteristics of showa vs sanke in order to find the tie breaker in the highest count! one way to go. But often the individual fish will tell you what it is by the atmosphere it projects.
    Another example ( and one of my favorites in testing a newbie judges depth of understanding) is found in simple black and white fish. There are many individual fish out there that are black and white ( doitsu and wagoi) they can be shiro utsuri or that might be one of the many karasu goi. It is the atmosphere of the fish that will ultimate tell you from which line the fish originates.
    and finally, as a last example, there is the haunting atmosphere of ogon.

    The second level - is within the grade of a koi. A 'quality' fish will have a certain unmistakeable atmosphere about it. This is called Jitai and probably THE most important concept in the art of koi appreciation. This skill is really the ability to see when a fish is 'right' ( as a well known dealer I know often says!). 'Right' in this case, means the fish has an atmosphere of a high quality fish-- body, skin and color. Now the pattern might be poor. OK, BUT most important is that the pattern fits the fish's body right. Again this is Jitai and gives the viewer a sense of quality as the overall atmosphere ( or impression, if you like) of first rate genetics. JR

  4. #4
    Oyagoi kingkong's Avatar
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    The goal is breeding that produces the best qualities of both parents. I really never get to see the entire story unlike dogs, orchids and some fish I get to see the parents so I know what to look for. Most of the time with koi I only go by the breeder or farm owner as an index so really never know if I got the best qualities. But if I enjoy the fish and it's atmosphere then it works for me in part.

  5. #5
    Oyagoi mrbradleybradley's Avatar
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    Calligraphy has a certain atmosphere about it, that sets it apart from of the forms of writing. Good quality, well executed calligraphy is an artform and you can easily tell the good from the bad, not only technically, but by the atmophere it is gives. The two levels JR mention in koi are found with a similar example in the form the letters take

    Cursive has another recognisable atmosphere about it, as does a group of CAPTIAL letters and as does something written in italics. A doctors handwriting, while unreadable, we can still recognise and we know the atmosphere is gives.

    Writing with the use of grafitti is also unreadable (for me at least) but I can still appreciate the atmosphere when used artistically. There is alot of really bad graffiti, but true graffiti artists do convey a very different atmosphere.

    Follow.........................

  6. #6
    Oyagoi kingkong's Avatar
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    Atmosphere....are we talking about what makes something unique and well suited for the category it is in or are we talking about over all beauty no matter what the designation. That would be anything thought-provoking due to the conditions of beauty, composition, rhythum, color and so on.....

  7. #7
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingkong View Post
    Atmosphere....are we talking about what makes something unique and well suited for the category it is in or are we talking about over all beauty no matter what the designation. That would be anything thought-provoking due to the conditions of beauty, composition, rhythum, color and so on.....
    This is not a easy concept to grasp. I am not sure that the word atmosphere will translate to everyone in the same way. I cannot really think of a better word. A few additional words that come to mind are:

    Character
    Impression
    Feel

    All seem to have a part but none seem to totally encompass this concept. I wonder what the Japanese term for this concept might be? However even if we knew it still would likely not translate well into another language.

    I also find it interesting that a koi can affect different people differently. What one person might see as distracting another might see as unique or charming or even cute.

    The phrase "the more I learn the less I know" seems to apply really well to koi appreciation.
    Disclosure:These opinions are based on my experience and conversations with persons I consider accomplished koi keepers and do not reflect the viewpoint of any organization.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei
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    Not true Ray! Jitai is atmosphere in which every thing matches and compliments the other. the bone structure, the type of skin , the depth of color and the size, type of pattern that fits the fish ( think tancho and how the plate fits the fish's head based on body and head shape).

    the other definition of atmosphere is to identify the gene type.- sanke sumi vs karasu sumi and how the body and head shape tells you that the fish as the atmosphere of karsugoi or gosanke. No doubt, it can be tricky but a careful study will usually give way to the atmosphere of a koi.
    Obviously this gets more difficult when gosankeX gosanke VS. gosanke X karasu
    Happy new Year to you both ( and I know I owe you a phone call! ) JR

  9. #9
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Not true Ray! Jitai is atmosphere in which every thing matches and compliments the other. the bone structure, the type of skin , the depth of color and the size, type of pattern that fits the fish ( think tancho and how the plate fits the fish's head based on body and head shape).

    the other definition of atmosphere is to identify the gene type.- sanke sumi vs karasu sumi and how the body and head shape tells you that the fish as the atmosphere of karsugoi or gosanke. No doubt, it can be tricky but a careful study will usually give way to the atmosphere of a koi.
    Obviously this gets more difficult when gosankeX gosanke VS. gosanke X karasu
    Happy new Year to you both ( and I know I owe you a phone call! ) JR
    JR you have taught me something. I thought that Jitai was the sum of skin and body quality of a koi. I had not heard it expanded to include color and pattern quality. Happy New Year to you. I am looking forward to your call.

  10. #10
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbradleybradley View Post
    For me, I need to look close into the atmosphere as I trial through spawns of karasu clan crosses and koi to carp experiments. For fun. I thought it good to post a photo of this koi, now around 4 months old. Can you see past the pattern and discover the atmosphere? What variety/s can you see. This is not a show koi, but rather a transition koi in a line I am working - so no need to focus on what it is, but where it has been, or where it is going.
    The "Koi to Carp experiments" sounds interesting to me.

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