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___ Goldfish, Koi Fish in Feng Shui and Chinese Belief

Goldfish, (in trad. Chinese 金鱼, Pinyin: jīn yú)
A popular Chinese New Year symbol is a child holding a large goldfish and a lotus flower, symbolizing abundance of gold and harmony.

According to Feng Shui, a fish represents wealth and prosperity because the actual word in Chinese for fish, in Pinyin: yú, 魚, also translates to “abundance” 裕 Pinyin: yù.
Twin golden carp swimming atop a golden yuanbao/ ingot/ coin is an even better sign. Not only wealth, abundance, but love, domestic felicity, partnership, tenacity, hence fertility, hence renewal is symbolized.
A pair of fish is also one of the Eight Buddhist Symbols.

Koi fish (in trad. Chinese: 錦鯉魚), either black or red, also symbolizes wealth and success.

As with most Chinese symbols, the carp has a legend attached to it. According to legend, the carp is noted for its strength and bravery because it swims against the current, upwards, ‘mastering’ falls and ending up at a gate on the Yellow River called Dragon Gate. The carp turns into the revered Celestial Dragon when it makes a final leap over the last rapids.

Based more on facts, the carp was hold in ponds during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). As the result of a dominant genetic mutation, some of these carps displayed a gold (actually yellowish orange) rather than a silver coloration. People began to breed the gold variety instead of the silver variety, and began to display them in small containers. The fish were not kept in the containers permanently, but in a larger body of water, such as a pond. Only for special occasions when guests were expected would the fishes be moved to the much smaller container.

In 1162, the Empress of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD) ordered the construction of a pond to collect the red and gold variety of those carps. By this time, people outside the imperial family were forbidden to keep goldfish of the gold (yellow) variety, yellow being the imperial color. This is probably the reason why there are more orange goldfish than yellow goldfish, even though the latter are genetically easier to breed.
The occurrence of other colors was first recorded in 1276. The first occurrence of fancy tailed goldfish was recorded in the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD).

dragon and fishes
Dragon and Gold Fishes in a Chinese temple, Paxe, Lao PDR
Photo: ©



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