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A pond of koi fishes, a symbol of wealth and prosperity


The koi fish are a variety of carp that is now bred in captivity to retain the beautiful colors that are distinctive to the fish. While many know about the koi in Japan, the fish was actually imported into Japan from China. The origin of the fish into China is a debated subject, but many believe that the fish originally came from Persia and was then bred in captivity in a similar manner as the Chinese goldfish until mutations resulted in the beautiful koi seen in modern society. In China, the fish are often called jin-li and have many associations to mythology and symbolism that are still found in the culture in modern times.

Though koi are primarily a symbol for ambition in China, they are also considered a symbol of wealth and luck. Seven golden koi kept in a pond is supposed to bring prosperity to the owner of the pond. Beyond just the seven koi, if the fish grows to a large size it is also considered lucky when looking at wealth and prosperity.

Along with the legend of dragons, the fish is sometimes associated with the common symbol for balance in China: the yin and yang. This is a more recent symbolism relating to tattoos rather than stemmed in the history of the culture. The yin and yang koi shows two fish swimming in a circle around each other in the classic colors of the symbol: black and white. The symbol represents perfect balance and harmony.


Koi is a beautiful fish long associated with myths and legends. In China, the main symbol of the fish is wealth and prosperity resulting in power. It is also associated with luck, balance and courage. In the Chinese culture, it is a lucky fish to own.


For more information on the koi fish in China


For an introduction to this travel report


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Taken on May 24, 2012