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Thread: Shiro Q....true or false. a high quality Shiro must have...

  1. #1
    Tategoi moikoi's Avatar
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    Shiro Q....true or false. a high quality Shiro must have...

    sumi stripes on its tail fin?

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    ?? I do not think I've seen this discussed on the boards. You do come up with good discussion points, Moi.

    IMO, no. Actually, I prefer all fins of a Shiro Utsuri to be free of sumi except for motoguro. The Utsuri group of koi tends to have striping in the fins. This is a trait that goes back to the origin of the type. You still see it in Hi Utsuri and Ki Utsuri... heavily striped pectorals as well as caudal fin and even the dorsal and anal fins. In the early days of koikeeping, the sumi of the Utsuri group was admired for the bold patterning, so different from the splotchy spotting in Bekko. However, the quality of the Utsuri sumi was not high. As breeding improved the thickness and depth of sumi in Bekko, Sanke and other varieties, the Utsuri group got left behind. In recent decades, the Utsuri have benefitted from the insertion of the more refined genetics of the gosanke, and none more so than Shiro Utsuri. With that refinement, traits from the old Utsuri types have been slowly replaced by gosanke traits. In Sanke, the striping in the fins has been bred out of the best, with the result that it is preferred that any stripes be limited to subtle tejima, perhaps three modest stripes being best for balance, but more than three being seen as tending to 'messiness'. No striping whatsoever is common in the highest quality Sanke. Striping in other fins is not preferred. Similarly, we see the reduction of striping in the finnage of the best Utsuri. The clean, clear patterning of contemporary Shiro Utsuri places emphasis on the dramatic contrast of pure white and lacquer black... creating quite a different appearance from the busy, wild-like patterning of old where stripes were everywhere. So, as an indicator of quality, I would look at striping as a negative; but I do not think undue weight should be given to it. Many fine Shiro Utsuri continue to exhibit stripes in the caudal fin, albeit not as rampant as 50 years ago. In another few decades, I expect it may become quite rare in the very best of the variety.

    That's my thinking on the subject. It will be interesting how others respond.

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