Posted on | June 1, 2010 | 3 Comments
Nothing is more soothing and meditative than to watch koi swimming lazily in a pond, and yet the symbolism for koi is anything but peaceful. There is a well-known legend dating back to ancient China about one koi that traveled the long distance upstream against the strong Yellow River current and successfully made it over the infamous Dragon Gate Falls, a seemingly overwhelming barrier. It was such an impossible task that the koi was rewarded by being transformed into a dragon. This legend was later introduced to Japan where it became part of Japanese lore, and the koi became a symbol of worldly aspiration and achievement, tenacity of purpose, and indomitable courage to the Japanese. Families display koinobori (flying carp banners) outside their houses each year on May 5th on Children’s Day (once known as Boys’ Day or Tango no Sekku) as a visible prayer for their children to grow up strong and healthy and to be able to withstand all the fierce currents of adversity. The koi symbolism is also appropriate for wishing students to do well in their examinations and for wishing anyone continued success in life.
An example of this legend is seen in this design on a fabric panel wall hanging. It shows the koi approaching a waterfall with a small dragon at the top right. The kanji on the upper right reads “Gateway to Success,” which makes this wall hanging a great gift to inspire a student or someone starting out in business.