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What do Koi fish symbolize?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Baby koi and goldfish in pond

Baby koi swimming with goldfish

Koi fish are favorites for the garden pond. Growing to big sizes, these colorfully decorative fish respond to your voice and are beautiful and tranquil as they glide through the water. The beauty and the stories about koi fish have made them into powerful symbols. Koi are heavily used in art and decoration in many Asian cultures in the home, garden and on the human body as a tattoo. In fact, Koi tattoos and Gemini tattoos are two of the most popular images used in body art. So what do koi fish actually symbolize?

There are a number of symbolic interpretations to the koi. Most date back to the mythical legend known as the tale of Dragon Gate. The story centers around the bravery and determination of this fish as it fights its way upstream against heavy currents. Eventually, the fish encounters the greatest of waterfalls and it hurls itself through the raining mists to transform into a magical dragon.

Both China and Japan have versions of this tale and as a result, the koi fish has become a symbol of brave perseverance, determination in the face of difficult odds, and strength of purpose. Although the koi fish is considered a masculine symbol, women, too, can be given the attributes of the focused koi.

There are a variety of interpretations that can be associated with the symbolism of the koi fish and the tale of Dragon Gate. Koi can be used to represent non-conformism, independence in the context of going against the mainstream, and exceeding expectations.

Another association attributed to koi fish is bravery, taken from the minimum flapping and struggling these fish tend to show when removed from water. And on the whole koi fish are seen as good luck, good fortune and endurance.

Another use of the koi symbol is for the members of the family. During holidays in Japan, flags are raised with the emblems of koi fish: black is for the father, red or orange is for the mother, pink koi symbolizes a daughter/girl while blue or white stands for the son/boy.

Koi are always a riveting addition to a pond where their beauty and power needs no symbolism to be appreciated. They have been bred for a wide variety of colors, patterns and forms. This variety is often echoed in designs on fabrics, artwork and even in the diverse imagery used in body tattoos. The koi fish will always have a powerful attraction in life and in art, especially with its powerful and admirable symbolism.


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