Fish turning into dragon
Ordinary fish in the pond was hoped by ancient Chinese people to turn into a vigorous and powerful dragon flying in the sky. It can be traced back to as early as Song dynasty in Chinese literature for children or young people who studied hard and had high expectations from their elder generations. In old days, passing examinations with flying marks is one of the very few ways to achieve high official positions thus receive high income.
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Fig 1-2: gilt silver plate, Song dynasty, courtesy of Fujian Provincial Museum
Fig 3: porcelain pillow, Song dynasty, courtesy of Chinese scholar Huang Songtao
Fig 4-5: porcelain bowl, 1573-1620 (circa), courtesy of the British Museum, London