D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

A Poet's Fu Shan 3


                                                            3D Simulation


Pharyngeal Teeth of Common Carp

The common carp or Cyprinus carpio has pharyngeal teeth.  The tooth count is 1, 1, 3-3, 1, 1 (Hubbs et al 1991).  However, the count may be 1,2,3-3,2,1. The pharyngeal teeth are molar-like with flattened crowns. (Goldstein and Simon, 1999).   

The origin of pharyngeal teeth in fishes has been open to debate. A paper written by Linden Edwards in May 1929 outlined the basic issue. “The idea of ectodermal migration to account for the presence of scales and teeth in the pharyngeal cavity of fishes is suggested in some text-books, the thought is implied in others that these structures could have been formed from endotherm in situ.”  Edwards, Linden, The Origen of the Pharyngeal  Teeth of the Carp (Cyprinus Carpio Linnaeus), The Ohio Journal of Science, Volume 29, May 1929, No.3.

                                      Pharyngeal Teeth of Common Carp


Fresh water Cyprinids which include the common carp do not have teeth in their jaws.  This is also true for the salt water genus Tribolodon found in the Bohai and Yellow Seas. “Carp have no teeth in their jaws, but have pharyngeal teeth (teeth in the throat cavity behind the mouth) that are broad and form three rows, with the inner rows acting to crush/grind their food. Because of this, the design of a Carp's mouth is not for chewing plants or other fish, but for crushing and grinding molluscs, seeds and algae.” (What is a Carp?) . “The fifth ceratobranchial is enlarged as the pharyngeal bone, with teeth ankylosed (joined) to it. For cyprinids, pharyngeal teeth are in one to three rows, and there are never more than eight teeth in any one row…” (Jiffynotes)

In 1982, F.A. Sibbing analyzed the structures that determine the movements of pharyngeal teeth and chewing pad in the carp (Cyprinus carpio. He says that the masticatory mechanism is still poorly understood. His view is that “Masticatory cycles are bilaterally synchronous and show distinct crushing and grinding patterns.”

The pharyngeal tooth remains of crucian and common carp from the Tinaluoshan site of the Hemudu Cultural Stage, Zhejiang Province, China have been studied by a group of scientists. They infer that Neolithic dwellers used gill nets to catch fish of a specific size during breeding season. Dwellers along the Yangstze River depended on fish as a major source of protein.  Nakajima goes on to show the relationship between fish and rice cultivation.  

There may be an image of a fish that is perceptible which has been created through an arrangement of boulders and carving on Fu Shan. The fish appears to be a common carp. However, it seems that the image has teeth in its jaw.  If it is a common carp then it is a unique and uncommon common carp.


Goldstein, R.M., and T.P. Simon. 1999. Toward a united definition of guild structure for feeding ecology of North American freshwater fishes. pp. 123-202 in T.P. Simon, editor. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 671 pp.


Nakajima, T., Nakajima, M., Mizuno, T., Sun, G.-P., He, S.-P. and Liu, H.-Z. (2010), On the pharyngeal tooth remains of crucian and common carp from the neolithic Tianluoshan site, Zhejiang Province, China, with remarks on the relationship between freshwater fishing and rice cultivation in the Neolithic Age. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. doi: 10.1002/oa.1206


Sibbing, F. A. (1982), Pharyngeal mastication and food transport in the carp (Cyprinus carpio L.): A cineradiographic and electromyographic study. Journal of Morphology, 172: 223–258. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051720208






The most important image that may appear on Fu Shan is that of a mask-like face. The left and right sides of the mask are parallel with each other. The decline of the mountain from its peak forms the top of the mask which joins the two sides. The eyes of the mask are oval in shape. The nose is prominent. The mouth is long. Both are in proportion to the size of the mask. The mask conveys a sense of serenity and tranquility.  

The mask may be divided into two parts. On the right appears a reptile that has crocodilian features. On the left appears a fish that has carp features—with one important exception—the fish has visible teeth. 

The depiction of a mask may be an important aspect of early Neolithic art as found on Seaman pottery. It is not uncommon to find what may represent a mask(s) portraying a fish-face. This type of painting has both fish and human-like characteristics and is called 人面 “renminyu”. 


On the above piece of Banpo pottery there is a complex painting of a fish-face. The face itself is round. Perhaps the various fins are also portrayed in their triangular shapes.

There are two triangular shaped, small “young” fish that are attached or in a dependent position to the side of the round head. They may represent ears or perhaps elaborate barbels. Each of the young fish is divided into three triangular shapes or parts.

There are two larger “adult” fish drawn below the fish-face. They, too, are triangular in shape. They have tiny barbel-like feelers. Their bodies are arched to swim in a circular pattern. The independent fish on the right seems to be swimming after the smaller fish and looking out for it. Their scales are drawn to resemble nets. One might wonder if actual fish nets were designed to resemble scales. 


On this bowl there is a vivid fish-face drawn on the side. It is somewhat oval in shape with a small triangular shaped chin and triangular point on the top of its head. There are hook- like lines running from each side of the forehead. There are two large size fish attached to the jaw where the barbels might be located. It now senses the world through its two small fry. 

There are dot features throughout the painting which may represent hairs or scales. Perhaps the dots have a numerical significance in terms of time. It looks like the following sequences are visible from the bottom: a) 26 (13 +13), b) 2 (1 + 1), c) 24 (13 +11), d) 16 (8 + 8) and e) 12 (6 + 6). Letter a) would seem to be twenty-six weeks or one half year. Each year divided into four parts of thirteen weeks. Letter b) could be a multiplier to make one full year. Letter c) seems to be twenty-four hours in a day.  Are the odd number of hours or 13 and 11 significant? Letter d) is unknown. Letter e) most likely to be 12 months in a year or could be 12 periods a day of two hours each.

D. Carlton Rossi